Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 101–107 | Cite as

The influence of drone physical condition on the likelihood of receiving vibration signals from worker honey bees, Apis mellifera

  • J. D. Slone
  • T. L. Stout
  • Z. Y. Huang
  • S. S. Schneider
Research Article

Abstract

Honey bee workers will perform vibration signals on adult drones, which respond by increasing the time spent receiving trophallaxis. Because trophallaxis provides the proteins for sexual maturation, workers could direct vibration signals towards drones showing certain physical characteristics, potentially influencing drone development and colony reproductive output. We examined the influence of drone condition on the likelihood of receiving vibration signals by comparing body weight, protein concentrations, and hemolymph juvenile hormone (JH) titers between drones that received the vibration signal and same-age, non-vibrated controls. Vibrated and control drones did not differ in total body weight, abdomen weight, abdomen-to-body weight ratio, total protein concentrations, or hemolymph JH titers. In contrast, vibrated drones had significantly lower thorax weight and smaller thorax-to-body weight ratios compared with controls. Because relative thorax weight may affect flight ability and mating success, workers could use the vibration signal to increase the care received by less developed drones, potentially contributing to the production of greater numbers of competitive males. However, the differences in thorax weights, while significant, were very small, and it is unknown how such slight differences might be assessed by workers or affect drone performance. Nevertheless, vibration signals performed on drones may provide opportunities for exploring the effect of the quality of reproductive individuals on caste interactions in honey bees.

Keywords

Drones Vibration signal Reproductive potential Caste interactions Worker–drone interactions Communication 

References

  1. Berg S., Koeniger N., Koeniger G. and Fuchs S. 1997. Body size and reproductive success of drones (Apis mellifera L.). Apidologie 28: 449-460Google Scholar
  2. Boes K.E. 2010. Honeybee colony drone production and maintenance in accordance with environmental factors: an interplay of queen and worker decisions. Insect. Soc. 57: 1-9Google Scholar
  3. Boucher M. and Schneider S.S. 2009. Communication signals used in worker-drone interactions in the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Anim. Behav. 78: 247-254Google Scholar
  4. Coelho J.R. 1991. The effect of thorax temperature on force production during tethered flight in honeybee (Apis mellifera) drones, workers, and queens. Physiol. Zool. 64: 823-835Google Scholar
  5. Coelho J.R. 1996. The flight characteristics of drones in relation to mating. BeeScience 4: 21-25Google Scholar
  6. DeGrandi-Hoffman G., Chen Y., Huang E. and Huang M.H. 2010. The effect of diet on protein concentration, hypopharyngeal gland development and virus load in worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). J. Insect Physiol. 56: 1184-1191Google Scholar
  7. Duay P.R., De Jong D. and Engels W. 2003. Decreased flight performance and sperm production in drones of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) slightly infested by Varroa destructor mites during pupal development. Genet. Molec. Res. 1: 227-232Google Scholar
  8. Gencer H.V. and Firatli C. 2005. Reproductive and morphological comparisons of drones reared in queenright and laying worker colonies. J. Apic. Res. 44: 163-167Google Scholar
  9. Gilley D.C. and Tarpy D.R. 2005. Three mechanisms of queen elimination in swarming honey bee colonies. Apidologie 36: 461-474Google Scholar
  10. Giray T. and Robinson G.E. 1996. Common endocrine and genetic mechanisms of behavioral development in male and worker honey bees and the evolution of division of labor. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11718-11722Google Scholar
  11. Harrison J.M. 1986. Caste-specific changes in honeybee flight capacity. Physiol. Zool. 59: 175-187Google Scholar
  12. Hatch S., Tarpy D.R. and Fletcher D.J.C. 1999. Worker regulation of emergency queen rearing in honey bee colonies and the resultant variation in queen quality. Insect. Soc. 46: 372-377Google Scholar
  13. Hölldobler B. and Wilson E.O. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  14. Hölldobler B., Janssen E., Bestmann H.J., Leal I.R., Oliveira P.S., Kern F. and König W.A. 1996. Communication in the migratory termite-hunting ant Pachycondyla (= Termitopone) marginata (Formicidae: Ponerinae). J. Comp. Physiol. A 178: 47-53Google Scholar
  15. Hrassnigg N. and Crailsheim K. 2005. Differences in drone and worker physiology in honeybees (Apis mellifera L.). Apidologie 36: 255-277Google Scholar
  16. Huang Z.Y. and Robinson G.E. 1996. Regulation of honey bee division of labor by colony age demography. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 39: 147-158Google Scholar
  17. Huang Z.Y., Robinson G.E. and Borst D.W. 1994. Physiological correlates of division-of-labor among similarly aged honey bees. J. Comp. Physiol. A 174:731-739Google Scholar
  18. Jaffé R. and Moritz R. 2010. Mating flights select for symmetry in honeybee drones (Apis mellifera). Naturwissenschaften 97: 337-343Google Scholar
  19. Jassim O., Huang Z.Y. and Robinson G.E. 2000. Juvenile hormone profiles of worker honey bees, Apis mellifera, during normal and accelerated behavioural development. J. Insect Physiol. 46: 243-249Google Scholar
  20. Jeanne R.L. 2009. Vibrational signals in social wasps: A role in caste determination? In: Organization of Insect Societies (Gadau J. and Fewell J., Eds), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp 241-263Google Scholar
  21. Koeniger N., Koeniger G., Gries M. and Tingek S. 2005a. Drone competition at drone congregation areas in four Apis species. Apidologie 36: 211-221Google Scholar
  22. Koeniger N., Koeniger G. and Pechhacker H. 2005b. The nearer the better? Drones (Apis mellifera) prefer nearer drone congregation areas. Insect. Soc. 52: 31-35Google Scholar
  23. Kraus F.B., Neumann P., Scharpenberg H., van Praagh J. and Mortiz R.F.A. 2003. Male fitness of honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera L.). J. Evol. Biol. 16: 914-920Google Scholar
  24. Marden J.H. 1989. Bodybuilding dragonflies: costs and benefits of maximizing flight muscle. Physiol. Zool. 62: 505-512Google Scholar
  25. Mazeed A.M. and Mohanny K.M. 2010. Some reproductive characteristics of honeybee drones in relation to their ages. Entomol. Res. 40: 245-250Google Scholar
  26. Ohtani T. 1974. Behavior repertoire of adult drone honeybee within observation hives. J. Faculty Sci. Hokkaido Univ. 19: 706-721Google Scholar
  27. Pierce A.L., Lewis L.A. and Schneider S.S. 2007. The use of the vibration signal and worker piping to influence queen behavior during swarming in honey bees, Apis mellifera. Ethology 113: 267-275Google Scholar
  28. Radloff S.E., Hepburn H.R. and Koeniger G. 2003. Comparison of flight design of Asian honeybee drones. Apidologie 34: 353-358Google Scholar
  29. Rice W.R. 1989. Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evolution 43: 223-225Google Scholar
  30. SAS Institute. 1997. SAS/STAT software: Changes and enhancements through release 6.12. SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  31. Schlüns H., Schlüns E.A., van Praagh J. and Moritz R.F.A. 2003. Sperm numbers in drone honeybees (Apis mellifera) depend on body size. Apidologie 34: 577-584Google Scholar
  32. Schlüns H., Koeniger G., Koeniger N. and Mortiz R.F.A. 2004. Sperm utilization pattern in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 56: 458-463Google Scholar
  33. Schneider S.S. and DeGrandi-Hoffman G. 2002. The influence of worker behavior and paternity on the development and emergence of honey bee queens. Insect. Soc. 49: 306-314Google Scholar
  34. Schneider S.S. and DeGrande-Hoffman G. 2003. The influence of paternity on virgin queen success in hybrid colonies of European and African honeybees. Anim. Behav. 65: 883-892Google Scholar
  35. Schneider S.S. and DeGrandi-Hoffman G. 2008. Queen replacement in African and European honey bee colonies with and without afterswarms. Insect. Soc. 55: 79-85Google Scholar
  36. Schneider S.S., Lewis L.A. and Huang Z.Y. 2004. The vibration signal and juvenile hormone titers in worker honeybees, Apis mellifera. Ethology 110: 977-985Google Scholar
  37. Schneider S.S., Painter-Kurt S. and DeGrandi-Hoffman G. 2001. The role of the vibration signal during queen competition in colonies of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Anim. Behav . 61: 1173-1180Google Scholar
  38. Sokal R.R. and Rohlf F.J. 1995. Biometry. W.H. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Stout T.A., Slone J.D. and Schneider S.S. 2011. Age and behavior of worker honey bees, Apis mellifera, that interact with drones. Ethology 117: 459-468Google Scholar
  40. Suryanarayanan S., Hantschel A.E., Torres C.G. and Jeanne R.L. 2010. Changes in the temporal pattern of antennal drumming behavior across the Polistes fuscatus colony cycle (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Insect. Soc. 58: 97-106Google Scholar
  41. Tarpy D.R., Gilley D.C. and Seeley T.D. 2004. Levels of selection in a social insect: a review of conflict and cooperation during honey bee (Apis mellifera) queen replacement. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 55: 513-523Google Scholar
  42. Tozetto S. de Oliveira, Rachinsky A. and Engels W. 1995. Reactivation of juvenile hormone synthesis in adult drones of the honey bee, Apis mellifera carnica. Experientia 51: 945-946Google Scholar
  43. Tozetto S. de Oliveira, Rachinsky A. and Engels W. 1997. Juvenile hormone promotes flight activity in drones (Apis mellifera carnica). Apidologie 28: 77-84Google Scholar
  44. van Engelsdorp D., Evans J.D., Saegerman C., Mullin C., Haubruge E., Nguyem B.K., Frazier M., Frazier J., Cox-Foster D., Chen Y., Underwood R., Tarpy D.R. and Pettis J.S. 2009. Colony collapse disorder: a descriptive study. PLoS One 4(8): e6481. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006481
  45. Winston M.L. 1987. The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  46. Woyke J. 1963. What happens to diploid drone larvae in a honeybee colony? J. Apic. Res. 2: 73-75Google Scholar
  47. Zaitoun S., Al-Majeed Al-Ghzawi A. and Kridli R. 2009. Monthly changes in various drone characteristics of Apis mellifera ligustica and Apis mellifera syriaca. Entomol. Sci. 12: 208-214Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Slone
    • 1
  • T. L. Stout
    • 1
  • Z. Y. Huang
    • 2
  • S. S. Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of North CarolinaCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations