Brood Pheromone Effects on Colony Protein Supplement Consumption and Growth in the Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in a Subtropical Winter Climate Public Deposited

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  • Fatty acid esters extractable from the surface of honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), larvae, called brood pheromone, significantly increase rate of colony growth in the spring and summer when flowering plant pollen is available in the foraging environment. Increased colony growth rate occurs as a consequence of increased pollen intake through mechanisms such as increasing number of pollen foragers and pollen load weights returned. Here, we tested the hypothesis that addition of brood pheromone during the winter pollen dearth period of a humid subtropical climate increases rate of colony growth in colonies provisioned with a protein supplement. Experiments were conducted in late winter (9 February–9 March 2004) and mid-winter (19 January–8 February 2005). In both years, increased brood area, number of bees, and amount of protein supplement consumption were significantly greater in colonies receiving daily treatments of brood pheromone versus control colonies. Amount of extractable protein from hypopharyngeal glands measured in 2005 was significantly greater in bees from pheromone-treated colonies. These results suggest that brood pheromone may be used as a tool to stimulate colony growth in the southern subtropical areas of the United States where the package bee industry is centered and a large proportion of migratory colonies are overwintered.
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  • Pankiw, T., Sagili, R. R., & Metz, B. N. (2008, December). Brood pheromone effects on colony protein supplement consumption and growth in the honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in a subtropical winter climate [Electronic version]. Journal of Economic Entomology, 101(6), 1749-1755. doi:10.1603/0022-0493-101.6.1749
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  • 101
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  • 6
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  • This research was supported by a USDA–NRI grant 2004-35302-15031 (to T.P.), as well as support from the Texas Honey Bee Legislative Initiative.
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