Differences in non-stinging aggressive responses of worker honeybees to diseased and healthy bees in May and July
Nathan H. Drum And Walter C. Rothenbuhler
Data from previous studies by the authors were re-examined and compared with previously unpublished results. Responses of groups of 30 caged worker honeybees (Apis mellifera) to introduced hivemates, intruder bees (healthy non-hivemates) and bees afflicted with chronic bee paralysis were monitored in late May and late July at c. 24·4°C. Bees with paralysis elicited the greatest response in both May and July. Responses to hivemates and intruders were similar in May, whereas in July intruders elicited a greater response than hivemates. Average temperature and barometic pressure in the apiary from which test bees were taken were similar during the two observation periods. Relativity humidity (RR) averaged 42% in May and 71% in July, but responses of caged bees maintained experimentally at RH values of 48% and 90% were not significantly different. Changes in the weight of a scale-hive in the same apiary indicated that the change in responsiveness to intruder bees occurred as a nectar flow waned and a dearth period began.