Use of drone trapping and drone releases to influence matings of European queens in an Africanized honey bee area (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Gerald M Loper; Macario M Fierro
A series of releases of virgin European honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens was made in a 4km2 area dominated by African honey bees (AHB) near Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico, in November-December, 1989. Queens were allowed to mate before and after experimental manipulations of the local drone population. After the first series of queen matings, aerial drone traps were used to capture and eliminate 6 398 drones. Then, approximately 6 400 drones of known colour (yellow) from managed European colonies were introduced into the area via drone source colonies, and a second series of queen matings was done. The drones caught in aerial traps were colour sorted. Essentially, 80% of the drones during the first mating period were black (MDH allelic frequencies typical of feral Africanized bees). During the second mating period, the percentage of black drones was much lower, averaging 53%. The drone population manipulations resulted in a significant increase (from 47.4% before to 93.6% after) in the proportion of worker progeny having more than one-and-a-half yellow abdominal bands. Thus, drone elimination followed by drone flooding can greatly increase the rate of desirable matings in an AHB-dominated area.