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Jerzy Woyke

Abstract

This paper emphasizes the topics concerning honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) mating biology, which have not been described in the recently published book of Koeniger et al. (2014). At the beginning of natural mating, the drone becomes paralyzed. However, the muscles in the abdomen continuously contract shrinking the abdomen till mating has ended and the pair have separated. It is not the queen that ends the nuptial flight. The termination of the nuptial flight is determined by the drone, which fails to remove the mating sign of the previous drone from the sting chamber of the queen. The mating sign originates from two or more drones. The queen also does not determine the age at which she starts oviposition. It is the last drone, which tried to mate, but failed to remove the mating sign of the predecessor, that determines the age that the queen starts oviposition. The book of Koeniger et al. (2014), together with this paper, present the current knowledge of the mating biology of honey bees.

Open access

Jerzy Woyke, Jerzy Wilde and Maria Wilde

Abstract

Over a 37-year period, we observed 1011 active bee nests and abandoned combs of Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa in Nepal, India, the Philippines, and Bhutan. This article focuses on the reasons for the different shapes of the nests. We discovered that differing ambient conditions were the reasons for the following three shapes of symmetrical nests: vertical semi-ellipse, semicircle, and the horizontal semi-ellipse. We noted that asymmetrical nests were constructed when there was lack of space to extend the comb equally in both external directions. An asymmetrical nest also appeared when remnants of a previous comb remained on one edge of the nest. Convex nests were constructed to avoid excess sun exposure. Concave nests appeared as a result of low temperatures during the night and part of the day (Nepal). An L-shape nest was constructed when there was lack of space available to extend the nest in a straight direction. The shape of the nests also determines the way the combs fall.

Open access

Jerzy Woyke, Jerzy Wilde and Maria Wilde

Swarming and Migration of Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa Honey Bees in India, Nepal and Bhutan

The migratory open air nesting Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa honeybees migrate at least twice a year. DNA genotyping showed that the same swarms return to their natal nesting sites. We examined 23 nesting sites in Nepal, India and Bhutan, on which 587 colonies of A. dorsata and A. laboriosa nested. The results showed that the frequency of the periodic mass flights (PMF) performed by the colonies is a good indicator of the status of current colony performance. During the swarming period, both, A. dorsata and A. laboriosa issue several swarms. In some colonies, so many bees swarmed out, that those remaining in the maternal colonies did not cover the combs. After the rest of the brood emerged, all the bees of such colonies abscond during the swarming period. Thus, absconding appeared in results of total out swarming. The swarms do not migrate directly to the seasonal alternative nesting sites, but establish new colonies in the areas around. After environmental conditions deteriorate, all the bees with their queens abscond and migrate to alternate seasonal nesting sites. The next season, the swarms do not return to their original reproductive natal sites, but to those sites they occupied the previous season lately, where from they absconded.

Open access

Ali Mahbobi, Jerzy Woyke, Saeed Abbasi, Mohammadbagher Farshineh-Adl and Ahmad Malakzadegan

Abstract

The performance of bee colonies greatly depends on the quality of the queens. The current research was conducted at the apiary of the Faculty of Agriculture, Zanjan University, in Zanjan, Iran. Together, 24 rearing colonies were assigned to 4 grafting larvae age groups: 1-day-old, 2-day-old, 3-day-old, and emergency queens. Two feeding groups, fed and not fed, were created. The effects of reared queens on biological characteristics and performance of honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera meda) headed by those queens were measured. Age of grafted larvae significantly influenced the results. The performance ratios of the most efficient colonies headed by queens reared from 1-day-old larvae compared with the least-efficient queens reared from 3-day-old larvae were 118% in brood production, 140% in bee population, and 154% in honey production. However, the age of grafted larvae did not affect colony defense behavior. Supplemental feeding of rearing colonies increased brood production to 111%, bee population to 116%, and honey production to 115%. A combination of the effect of age of larvae and supplemental feeding resulted in twice as much honey (12 kg) produced by colonies with queens reared from 1-day-old larvae in fed rearing colonies compared to those with queens raised from 3-day-old larvae in unfed rearing colonies.

Open access

Khem Raj Neupane, Jerzy Woyke and Jerzy Wilde

Abstract

A study was carried out to investigate the effect of the original strengths of honey bee colonies supered in different ways, on the production of honey by Apis mellifera bees in the Terai region of Nepal. Bee colonies of three different original strengths, in which the bees covered 5, 10 and 20 combs, were supered in three different methods. The results showed that honey production was highly correlated to the number of worker brood cells in the colonies (r = 0.96, p = 0.003). Colonies of 5 comb initial strength (CIS), as farmers’ practices in Nepal, produced the lowest amount of honey (30.1 kg per annum). Bees in colonies of 10 CIS with a deep super, produced twice as much honey (62.2 kg), and colonies of 20 CIS with deep supers produced even significantly more honey (74.5 kg). However, the relationship between the financial values of the produced honey to the cost of its production was the highest - 1.52 : 1 for colonies of 10 CIS with a deep super. Therefore, this bee colony management is recommended to the beekeepers in the Terai region and lower hills of Nepal. This fi nding has global application.

Open access

Jakub Gąbka and Jerzy Woyke

Abstract

In bee colonies without open brood, e.g., after swarming, there is no need for royal jelly, and nurse bees thus do not produce it. According to many beekeepers, adding combs with open brood restarts the production of royal jelly by nurse bees, and the virgin queens then are better fed and start earlier oviposition. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the presence of open brood and the strength of the colonies affect the onset of oviposition by queen bees. Open brood in colonies with virgins before and during mating flights did not accelerate the initiation of oviposition by the queens. In addition, no differences were identified in starting oviposition by queens in strong colonies of more than 30,000 worker bees, or in weak colonies with up to 1,000 workers. Overall, the results showed that neither open brood in the nests, nor the strength of the colonies affects the onset of oviposition by queen bees.

Open access

Ali Mahbobi, Mohammadbagher Farshineh-Adl, Jerzy Woyke and Saeed Abbasi

Effects of the Age of Grafted Larvae and the Effects of Supplemental Feeding on Some Morphological Characteristics of Iranian Queen Honey Bees (Apis mellifera meda Skorikov, 1929)

The research was conducted at the apiary of the Faculty of Agriculture, Zanjan University in Zanjan, Iran. Queens were reared in 24 Apis mellifera meda honey bee rearing colonies. The colonies were assigned to 4 grafting larvae age groups; 1 day old larvae, 2 day old larvae, and 3 day old larvae, and the last group reared emergency queen cells. The groups were divided into the 2 feeding groups: fed additionally and no fed. The effects of the age of the grafted larvae and the effects of supplemental feeding on 9 morphological characteristics of queens were measured. The results showed that the age of the larvae significantly affected the morphological characteristics of reared queens, and thus, their quality. Queens reared from 1 day old larvae were of the highest quality. These queens were significantly heavier (158.83 mg) and had significantly larger spermatheca (0.99 mm3) than queens reared from larvae 2 and 3 days old. Queens from emergency queen cells were of lower quality than queens reared from 1 day old larvae. However, queens from emergency queen cells were of higher quality than queens reared from 3 day old larvae. The supplemental feeding significantly increased most morphological characteristics of the reared queens. The different ages of the larvae did not significantly affect the wing length nor did supplemental feeding affect the wing length.

Open access

Maciej Siuda, Jerzy Wilde, Jerzy Woyke, Zygmunt Jasiński and Beata Madras-Majewska

Abstract

The aim of this study was to develop an effective method of overwintering reserve honey bee queens in two-storey mini-plus mating nuclei and in 3-comb nuclei (frames 36 x 26 cm, Wielkopolski hive). The assay was performed during three wintering seasons (2005 - 2008) parallel at two centers in Poland: the Division of Apiculture at the University of Life Sciences (SGGW) in Warsaw, and the Apiculture Division at the University of Warmia and Mazury (UWM) in Olsztyn. The results showed that 59% of queens overwintered in mini-plus nuclei and 77% in 3-comb nuclei. Among queens in mini-plus nuclei 63% overwintered in bee yard and only 55% in cellar. Within queens in 3-comb nuclei, 62% overwintered in Olsztyn and 91% in Warsaw. The highest survival rate of 93% was observed in Warsaw during the first season. Due to low survival rate, it is not recommended to overwinter the queens in miniplus nuclei.