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Queen performance and colony productivity decreases after queens are exposed to temperature extremes

Guarna MM, Pernal SF, Joselow K, Pettis JS (2017) Queen performance and colony productivity decreases after queens are exposed to temperature extremes. Proceedings of the 45th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress, p. 119, 29 Sep – 4 Oct 2017, Istanbul, Turkey.

Abstract

The health and performance of honey bee queens is an important factor determining colony productivity and survival. We have observed that when recently mated queens are exposed to temperature extremes in the laboratory or during transport the quality of their sperm decreases before any symptoms of poor health are visible. In a field study of colonies headed by control or temperature-treated queens, we showed that temperature-induced reduction in sperm quality results in decreased queen performance, as observed by poor brood pattern and reduced brood quantity. This is turn had a marked effect on colony productivity as shown by reduced adult bee population and decreased honey production. Further, the overwinter survival of colonies headed by temperature treated queens was also reduced. We will discuss how these results can guide queen producers and beekeepers on queen handling and management decisions to reduce the need for frequent queen replacement and improve colony productivity and survival.

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