The Effects of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Queen Insemination Volume on Colony Growth
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The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a eusocial insect where each individual hive contains a single, polyandrous queen that is responsible for laying the fertilized eggs that maintain a hive’s worker population. Virgin queens will go on mating flights during a single period of time at the beginning of their lifespan and mate with an average of 12 drone bees. The sperm that is collected in the reproductive organ known as the spermatheca will be the only amount of sperm available to a queen for the duration of her lifetime. The quality of a hive has been shown in past studies to be dependent on the quality of its queen. This study looks at how the volume of semen a queen is artificially inseminated with affects the overall growth of a colony over time by comparing hives led by high-inseminated queens (those artificially inseminated with 9 uL of semen) to hives led by low-inseminated queens (those artificially inseminated with 1.5 uL of semen). The parameters that were measured as part of colony growth included the population of a hive, the amount of worker and drone comb built, the amount of capped worker and drone brood, and the amount of food stored within each of the experimental hives. The results of this study showed that there were not any statistically significant differences in any measure of colony growth between the hives led by queens inseminated with a low semen volume compared to queens inseminated with a high semen volume.
Payne, Alexandria N (2016). The Effects of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Queen Insemination Volume on Colony Growth. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from