Colony Initiation of Bumble Bee Queens (B. terrestris) and Colony Development In Captivity


Abstract: This experiment was conducted to determine breeding techniques, colony foundation rate, colony and worker development in the laboratory of field-collected Bombus terrestris queens. One hundred and sixty-seven naturally mated queens were captured from the Aegean region in autumn. The queens were individually in cages at 28-30°C and 50-60 % R.H. in the dark. Every 2-3 days, sugar solution (50 %) and pollen paste were supplied and 4-5 young honeybees were added to the cages. When the first bumble bee workers emerged, the colony was transferred to a large ventilated box with two compartments. During the trial the nest foundation rate, measured by worker emergence, was found to be 50.3 % and the survival rate of queens 56.3 %. Queens started to oviposition 5.88±0.24 days after they were placed in the cages. Worker development time was found to be 26.425±0.384 days. After emergence of the first workers the average number of workers on day 7, 14, 20, 27, 34 and 40 were found to be 5.85±0.406, 7.95±0.394, 10.574±0.530, 15.689±0.575, 19.122±0.786, 27.33±1.12. respectively.

Keywords: Bombus terrestris, Colony Foundation Rate, Colony Development, Number of Worker.

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