Interspecific and conspecific colony mergers in the dwarf honey bees Apis andreniformis and A. florea
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The dwarf honey bees Apis florea and A. andreniformis are sympatric in southeast Asia. We translocated eight A. florea colonies and four A. andreniformis colonies to an orchard near Sai Yoke, Thailand. After 2 days, we dequeened half of the colonies. Microsatellite genotyping showed that a queenless A. florea colony merged with a queenright A. florea colony, and a queenless A. andreniformis colony merged with a queenright A. florea colony. The inter-specific merger in particular shows that colonies can combine without direct kin benefits, and that colony mergers probably arise through strong queen attraction.