Hygienic Behaviour of Honeybee Colonies with Different Levels of Polyandry and Genotypic Composition

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Honey bee queens were inseminated with diluted, homogenised semen collected from a few dozen drones. This procedure was carried out to increase the diversity of the queens’ offspring, which is in comparison to the offspring of queens inseminated with semen from only a few drones coming from one colony. Queens and drones were mated within carniolan bee (Apis mellifera carnica) subspecies, but 3 selected lines were used. Queens were reared from one line and drones from the same line, and two additional lines differing in hygienic behaviour wherein in one of them that trait was strongly evident. The aim of this study was to examine whether the level of enhanced genetic variability in colonies and simultaneously the participation of hygienic bees, would increase the performance of hygienic behaviour. Overall hygienic behaviour of colonies with a lower and greater genetic variability did not differ significantly and amounted to 52.1 and 47.0%, respectively. Colonies within the lower variability group, in which drones from line selected in hygienic behaviour performance were used for inseminating queens, had a significantly greater percent of cleaned pupae than other colonies (63.2%). Hygienic behaviour in other colonies was more dependent on the gene quotas of hygienic bees in the colonies rather than on the level of polyandry.

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Journal of Apicultural Science

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