Factors Affecting the Acceptance of Foreign Drones Into Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera L.) Colonies

  • Currie R
  • Jay S
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Studies on drone management could aid in honey bee breeding programs by improving the efficiency and quality of mating. In this study the effects of introducing foreign drones into honey bee colonies were examined. Marked drones were introduced into single story colonies in the afternoon, evening and on the following morning. The number of drones accepted was measured for five consecutive days after drones were introduced. Introduced drones were either, released into the hive after crawling through a wire screen or were confined within the colony overnight by placing a queen excluder between the bottom board of the hive and the bottom box. The number of drones that was accepted was significantly higher when the marked drones were confined in the colony overnight, using queen excluders. There was a significant interaction between the introduction technique used and time of day when drones were introduced. When introduced drones were confined in colonies with queen excluders, acceptance was higher if the drones were introduced in the afternoon than when they were introduced in the evening or on the following morning. However, if drones were not confined within the colony (i. e. no excluders were used) acceptance was highest in the evenings. The number of drones that was accepted varied with the number that was introduced. When 50 or 95 drones were introduced the mean number of drones that were accepted after five days was not significantly different. However, when 50 or more drones were introduced, acceptance after five days was significantly higher than when only 25 drones were introduced. Therefore, the number of drones accepted by a colony can be increased by confining the drones in the colony for about 18 hours after introduction and by introducing drones in the afternoon or evening rather in the morning. The number of drones accepted, however, cannot be increased when more than 50 drones are introduced per hive

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  • R. W. Currie

  • S. C. Jay

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