Behaviour of egglaying virgin and mated queen honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and the composition of brood in their colonies
Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman; Joseph H Martin
Virgin and mated cordovan queen honey bees (Apis mellifera) were introduced into two-frame colonies containing workers that were not related to the queens. The percentage of times that queens laid eggs after assuming an egglaying position was lower for virgin queens than for mated queens. In most instances, mated queens laid more eggs per observation interval than virgin queens. Virgin queens were accepted and cared for by workers as were mated queens, and all virgin queens survived in the colonies. Colonies headed by virgin queens produced 0-58.1 % of their brood from the eggs of laying workers, while colonies headed by mated queens did not produce any laying worker brood. Ovarian development was completely suppressed in colonies headed by mated queens. Although only early stage ovarian development was observed in workers sampled from colonies headed by virgin queens, from the composition of the brood it was deduced that some workers must have had completely developed ovaries and were laying eggs.