Effects of queen rearing period on reproductive features of Italian (Apis mellifera ligustica), Caucasian (Apis mellifera caucasica), and Aegean ecotype of Anatolian honey bee (Apis mellifera anatoliaca) queens


Abstract: This study was conducted to determine the effects of rearing period on the quality characteristics of honey bee queens reared from Italian and Caucasian races and from the Aegean ecotype of Anatolian honey bee under the conditions of the Aegean region. Italian (I), Caucasian (C), and Aegean (A) queens were reared in April, June, and August of 2007 and 2008. The queens were weighed on the second day after emergence (WQ) and at the onset of oviposition (OWQ). The interval from emergence to the onset of oviposition (preoviposition period, POP) was determined in 3 genotype queen groups. The numbers of spermatozoa in the spermathecae (SN) were also measured after the queens started oviposition. The rearing period affected the weight of the queens at 2 days after emergence (WQ; P < 0.01) and at the onset of oviposition (OWQ; P < 0.01), the POP (P < 0.01), and the SN (P < 0.01). The differences in mean values of WQ, POP, and SN among genotypes were found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05, P < 0.01, and P < 0.05, respectively), whereas the OWQ was not affected by genotype. Our results showed that the quality of queens was affected by the rearing period, decreasing gradually from April to August.

Keywords: Apis mellifera ligustica, Apis mellifera caucasica, Aegean ecotype, reproductive features, queen rearing periods

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