SEASONAL PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES IN QUEEN AND WORKER HONEYBEES

publication date: Sep 17, 2013
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 20 (2) pp.69-78
DOI
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Date
June 1981
Article Title
SEASONAL PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES IN QUEEN AND WORKER HONEYBEES
Author(s)
S. M. SHEHATA, G. F. TOWNSEND AND R. W. SHUEL
Abstract
Queens were relatively heavy and had large, well developed ovaries in the early summer. This condition coincided with a period of intensive egg laying. Ovary development was accompanied by a large drop in fat-body lipids and a significant increase in fat-body protein. Ovaries of laying queens were about 8 times as large as those of virgins. Between November and January, when no eggs were laid, queens were lighter and had smaller, less-developed ovaries. The weight of workers remained essentially unchanged throughout the year. Fat-body stores in both queens and workers were high in summer, then declined during September and October. A gradual build-up in queen fat-body stores began in November and continued through March. Total stores in the worker fat-body rose sharply in November, then fell again in December and January. Blood sugar concentrations were high in both queens and workers between June and October; caste patterns diverged between December and June, when concentration dropped nearly to zero in queens but increased to a level of more than 4% in workers. Blood sugar levels varied inversely with levels of fat-body lipids during late autumn and winter. More protein bands were observed during periods of heavy egg laying and brood rearing than at other times. The female-specific protein 'vitellogenin' was observed in both female castes. The concept of 'summer bees' and 'winter bees' appeared to be appropriate to queens as well as to workers.
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