A colony defence difference between two honey bee subspecies (Apis mellifera cypria and Apis mellifera caucasica)

publication date: Apr 1, 2012
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 51 (2) pp. 169 - 173
DOI
10.3896/IBRA.1.51.2.04
Date
April 2012
Article Title

A colony defence difference between two honey bee subspecies (Apis mellifera cypria and Apis mellifera caucasica)

Author(s)

Irfan Kandemir, Ibrahim Cakmak, Charles I Abramson, Selvinar S Cakmak, Eddie Serrano, Daniel Song, Levent Aydin and Harrington Wells

Abstract

Colony defence differences between two honey bee subspecies Apis mellifera cypria and A. m. caucasica are reported. A. m. cypria formed significantly (P < 0.001) more defensive balls of bees covering intruders than A. m. caucasica in response to a predatory wasp attack. Although there were differences in ball formation, the number of bees attacking the wasp did not differ in the balls that were formed (P > 0.10). In addition to ball formation, A. m. cypria was tested for differences in frequency of attacking, shaking, shimmering, line formation and lunging when confronted with a live tethered wasp, dead tethered wasp or just the tethering line. Only the dead wasp elicited differential response. It is suggested that these difference in anti-predator behaviour are related to the high predation risks of A. m. cyrpria. Caucasian bees and their hybrids do not face to such wasp predation due to the cool weather in the Caucasus region.

Keywords

Honey bee subspecies, colony defence behaviour, Vespa orientalis, ball formation

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