, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 265-270

Kin structure and the swarming behavior of the honey bee Apis mellifera

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Summary

Experimental hives obtained from cordovan queens that were instrumentally inseminated with semen from one cordovan and one Italian drone were set up and allowed to swarm. Cordovan provides a resessive genetic marker system (cuticle color) so that the workers from the cordovan and Italian male lines are distinguishable. Our results show that these patrilineal worker groups segregate non-randomly during colony fission and this segregation cannot be explained by observed age structure. Evidence of innate kin recognition in bees has been previously established. We argue that kin recognition could be responsible for the observed non-random grouping of kin during swarming.