Preference for queenless over queenright packages by young queen honeybees
Young queens (mostly virgin) that had been held in a battery colony (consisting of broodless workers and caged queens only) since emergence were allowed to fly; upon their return they were given a choice of alighting upon a queenless package or upon one with a queen. On 62% of the flights they chose the queenless package; no arrangement of the data resulted in sub-groups that differed significantly from 62%. There was no evidence that certain queens preferred to return to the queenless, and others to the queenright, package. It is believed that the past environment of the queens rather than a genetic mechanism underlay the choice, though hypotheses for both environmental and genetic mechanisms are discussed. Queens piped far more often on queenless than on queenright packages.