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Cape (Apis mellifera capensis) and European (Apis mellifera) honey bee guard age and duration of guarding small hive beetles (Aethina tumida)

Written by
Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 42 (3) pp.32-34
DOI
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Date
September 2003
 
Article Title

Cape (Apis mellifera capensis) and European (Apis mellifera) honey bee guard age and duration of guarding small hive beetles (Aethina tumida)
Author(s)

James O Ellis Jr, Alexandra J Holland, Randall Hepburn, Peter Neumann and Patti J Elzen

Abstract

The guard age and duration of European (Apis mellifera) and Cape (A. m. capensis) honey bees guarding small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) were determined using 3-frame observation hives, noting the commencement and termination of beetle guarding by individually labelled honey bees. European honey bees in the USA began guarding small hive beetles significantly earlier (beginning age 18.55 ± 0.52 days; mean ± s.e.), guarded beetles significantly longer (duration 2.36 ± 0.31 days), and stopped guarding beetles significantly sooner (ending age 19.91 ± 0.57 days) than Cape honey bees in South Africa (beginning age 20.61 ± 0.38 days; duration 1.43 ± 0.12 days; and ending age 21.04 ± 0.37 days). Although the timing of beetle guarding behaviour between the two subspecies is significantly different, it does not explain the differential damage to European and Cape honey bee colonies caused by small hive beetles.

Keywords

Apis mellifera, Apis mellifera capensis, Aethina tumida, guarding behaviour, guard age, small hive beetle, Cape honey bees, age-related division of labour

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