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Increased brood viability and longer lifespan of honeybees selected for propolis production


Propolis has been proposed to affect honeybee health. To test this hypothesis, we initially evaluated propolis production in 36 honeybee colonies. The three highest (HP) and three lowest propolis-producing (LP) colonies had mean yields of 16.0 and 0.64 g, respectively. Queens and drones from these parental colonies were crossed by artificial insemination to produce five colonies each of the following crosses: HP♀ × HP♂, HP♀ × LP♂, LP♀ × HP♂, and LP♀ × LP♂. Colonies headed by HP♀ × HP♂ queens produced 34 times more propolis than those headed by LP♀ × LP♂ queens and five times more than those from the other two crosses. Newly emerged bees were marked to measure longevity, and egg and brood counts were made to determine brood survival rates. The colonies with queens derived from crosses between high-propolis-producing colonies had significantly higher brood viability and greater worker bee longevity. We conclude that colonies that collect more propolis are healthier and have longer-living bees.

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The authors thank CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) for a scholarship for D.N. and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for financial assistance. Anonymous reviewers made helpful comments that improved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to David De Jong.

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Manuscipt editor: Peter Rosenkranz

Viabilité du couvain et durée de vie accrues chez des abeilles sélectionnées pour leur production de propolis

Reproduction contrôlée / propolis / viabilité du couvain / longévité

Höhere Brutüberlebensraten und längere Lebensdauer bei Honigbienen, die auf höhere Propolisproduktion selektiert wurden

Kontrollierte Paarung / Propolis / Brutüberlebensraten / Lebensdauer

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Nicodemo, D., Malheiros, E.B., De Jong, D. et al. Increased brood viability and longer lifespan of honeybees selected for propolis production. Apidologie 45, 269–275 (2014).

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  • controlled mating
  • propolis
  • brood viability
  • longevity