Live weight of queen honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) predicts reproductive characteristics
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The study was conducted to determine the effects of queen body weight at emergence on the mating ratio, acceptance of the mated queens by the queenless colonies, onset of oviposition, diameter of spermathecae, the number of spermatozoa in the spermathecae, and the egg-laying rate of the queens. The queens were categorized in three groups; Heavy (207.63 +/- 0.95 mg), Medium (193.47 +/- 0.96 mg) and Light (175.00 +/- 0.62 mg) according to weight at the emergence. Acceptance rates in heavy, medium and light queen groups were 93.33%, 86.66% and 66.66%; average mating ratios were 93.3%, 90.0% and 83.3%; and the onset of oviposition was 8.5, 8.8 and 9.8 days after emergence, respectively. The diameters of spermathecae and the numbers of spermatozoa in the spermathecae were 1.25, 1.06, 0.86 mm; and 5.2, 4.8 and 4.2 million respectively. The amounts of brood area, 30 days after the onset of oviposition were 6605.2 +/- 63.6, 5571.3 +/- 90.3 and 4520.2 +/- 58.3 cm(2) in the colonies headed by the heavy, medium and light queens. Statistically important correlations were found between queen weight and the diameter of the spermatheca (r = 0.98), the number of spermatozoa in the sper-matheca (r = 97) and egg-laying rate of the queens (r = 0.90).