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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

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.