Worker policing persists in a hopelessly queenless honey bee colony (Apis mellifera)

Châline, N, Martin, S J and Ratnieks, F L W (2004) Worker policing persists in a hopelessly queenless honey bee colony (Apis mellifera). Insectes Sociaux, 51 (2). pp. 113-116. ISSN 0020-1812

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Abstract

In queenright colonies of Apis mellifera, worker policing normally eliminates worker-laid eggs thereby preventing worker reproduction. However, in queenless colonies that have failed to rear a replacement queen, worker reproduction is normal. Worker policing is switched off, many workers have active ovaries and lay eggs, and the colony rears a last batch of male brood before dying out. Here we report a colony which, when hopelessly queenless, did not stop policing although a high proportion of workers had active ovaries (12.6%) and many eggs were laid. However, all these eggs and also worker-laid eggs transferred from another colony were policed. This unusual pattern was repeated eight weeks later by a second queenless colony made using worker bees from the same mother colony, which strongly suggests genetic determination.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Francis Ratnieks
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:13
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2012 14:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30247
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