Population dynamics of European honey bee genotypes under different environmental conditions

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Journal of Apicultural Research Vol. 53 (2) pp. 233-247
DOI 10.3896/IBRA.
Date May 2014
Article Title

Population dynamics of European honey bee genotypes under different environmental conditions


Fani Hatjina, Cecilia Costa, Ralph Büchler, Aleksandar Uzunov,  Maja Drazic, Janja Filipi, Leonidas Charistos, Lauri Ruottinen, Sreten Andonov, Marina D Meixner, Malgorzata Bienkowska, Gerula Dariusz, Beata Panasiuk, Yves Le Conte, Jerzy Wilde, Stefan Berg, Maria Bouga, Winfried Dyrba, Hrisula Kiprijanovska, Seppo Korpela, Per Kryger, Marco Lodesani , Hermann Pechhacker, Plamen Petrov and Nikola Kezic


Adaptation of honey bees to their environment is expressed by the annual development pattern of the colony, the balance with food sources and the host - parasite balance, all of which interact among each other with changes in the environment. In the present study, we analyse the development patterns over a period of two years in colonies belonging to 16 different genotypes and placed in areas grouped within six environmental clusters across Europe. The colonies were maintained with no chemical treatment against varroa mites. The aim of the study was to investigate the presence of genotype - environment interactions and their effects on colony development, which we use in this study as a measure of their vitality. We found that colonies placed in Southern Europe tend to have lower adult bee populations compared to colonies placed in colder conditions, while the brood population tends to be smaller in the North, thus reflecting the shorter longevity of bees in warmer climates and the shorter brood rearing period in the North. We found that both genotype and environment significantly affect colony development, and that specific adaptations exist, especially in terms of adult bee population and overwintering ability.


COLOSS, Genotype-Environment Interactions Experiment, Apis mellifera L., honey bee, population, development

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