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Thread: The Biology of Mating by Juliana Rangel (NHS lecture).

  1. #21
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Hi Jon
    There are enough good features of well bred Amm to make them attractive without the more dubious claims
    Exactly.

  2. #22

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    Hi Gavin
    This study of mating seems to be saying there are plenty drones everywhere even in low density areas
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4361586/
    Lots of mating with different drones
    If queens somehow mate with drones not from their own apiary that mechanism doesn't seem well understood
    So if you bought in 10 queens from different sources and they were in the same apiary then they are unrelated in pheromones or whatever
    However if its a distance method of differentiation all your drones will still be flying in different locations from your virgin queens

    I am not clear on which might be the best method but it would seem to be have all the local beekeepers with one bee type AND for all those beekeepers to have unrelated strains

    Open mating favour hybridisation that's why almost every bee we have is a hybrid


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  3. #23
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Don't forget that study which suggested that there may be a mechanism which favours within subspecies crossing

    Partial reproductive isolation between European subspecies of honey bees
    Andrzej Oleksa, Jerzy Wilde, Adam Tofilski, Igor J. Chybicki

    Northern Poland is inhabited by native Apis mellifera mellifera (AMM) and the non-native A. m. carnica (AMC) which was introduced by beekeepers. However, hybrids between the two subspecies of honey bee are relatively rare.

  4. #24

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    Hi Jon
    that's interesting but what is the mechanism by which queens can "choose " their mates
    Thats where information seems scarce
    Now if its just random luck or avoidance of something that looks wrong in colour fair enough
    Can a queen smell a mate while in flight surrounded by a load of suitors
    Queens are able to fly but drones seem to get lots more practice
    My money is on the drone outflying a reluctant queen
    So if there is some mechanism it is not an obvious one

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  5. #25
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    I assume that you're refering to drones drifting to other hives (is that what they do or is there an aspect of migration involved?). With regard to the actual mating flights of drones and queens, the Koeniger's research demonstrates that on average the drones stay closer to home than the queens, as described here:

    Mating Biology of Honeybees by G. Koeniger (National Honey Show 2014).

    https://youtu.be/cI26DLS2CyM
    Haven't looked at the video yet (it is a busy few days) but the comments on drones were on drones out on mating flights from a home base and are discussed here:

    The flight characteristics of drones in relation to mating
    Joseph R. Goelho
    Bee Science 1996

    'Most studies show that the average length of time spent in a mating flight by a drone is -30 min. (reviewed by Witherell 1971), which represents 81% of the theoretically available time. Drones routinely reach congregation areas 5 km from the natal colony, and occasionally as far as 5 km, while virgin queens probably fly only 2-3 km on mating flights (Ruttner and Ruttner 1966). Yet matings routinely occur between drones and queens whose natal colonies are l2 km apart, and occasionally up to 17 km apart (Taylor, Kinsolver, and Otis 1986). Drones return from mating flights with virtually empty honey crops (Ruttn er 1966, Coelho, unpublished observations). These observations suggest that drones commonly use all of the time and range available to them from their energy stores, perhaps retaining a small amount of fuel as a safety lactor. The energetic strategy of drones appears to be that ol utilizing nearly completely the energy stores on a given flight, returning to the hive, refueling, then taking another flight. In this way as many as eight flights may be taken in one day (Witherell l97l). '

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Hi Jon
    that's interesting but what is the mechanism by which queens can "choose " their mates
    Thats where information seems scarce
    Bees make very rapid decisions whether or not to challenge a robber so I think mid-air choice is feasible for queens. There is also the valve fold which gives her choice at the actual moment. There has been talk (loose talk?) of different types flying at different heights.

    Your experienced and committed keepers of imported stocks note that - despite force of numbers in some situations - stocks partially revert to something Amm-like. Why is that - advantage of native-type drones flying better, longer in iffy conditions? Something genetic and subtle such as genetic drive? Better survival of your more native-like hybrids due to local disease pressure? Or is this reversion also not well recorded and doubtful? That Polish work Jon cited shows that there are thigs going on that we don't understand (yet).

  7. #27
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Drones return from mating flights with virtually empty honey crops (Ruttn er 1966, Coelho, unpublished observations). These observations suggest that drones commonly use all of the time and range available to them from their energy stores, perhaps retaining a small amount of fuel as a safety lactor. The energetic strategy of drones appears to be that ol utilizing nearly completely the energy stores on a given flight, returning to the hive, refueling, then taking another flight. In this way as many as eight flights may be taken in one day (Witherell l97l). '
    That's an interesting excerpt Gavin (I'll read the full paper later -time's short for me too), as I understand it, the Koeniger's results showed drones favouring closer DCAs because of their need to refuel and get back onto the wing as quickly as possible to enhance their chance of mating whereas a queen could afford to fly further afield as she may only need ten minutes or so actual mating time once she gets to the DCA and of course the odds are stacked in her favour compared to those of an individual drone.
    Last edited by prakel; 25-11-2015 at 09:30 AM.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Your experienced and committed keepers of imported stocks note that - despite force of numbers in some situations - stocks partially revert to something Amm-like. Why is that - advantage of native-type drones flying better, longer in iffy conditions? Something genetic and subtle such as genetic drive? Better survival of your more native-like hybrids due to local disease pressure? Or is this reversion also not well recorded and doubtful? That Polish work Jon cited shows that there are thigs going on that we don't understand (yet).
    Hi Gavin
    you may be right it would seem there is an inbuilt factor in honeybee mating that favours hybridisation so its probably expected that imported Carnica or whatever will be heavily hybridised in the next generation
    Likewise for Amm type queens etc

    The study Jon linked to was very interesting this is my impression of it

    There were only two strains or lines of bees
    3 of each queen mothers Amm AmC
    24 daughter queens of each in the mating study
    3 Amm queens disappeared on the mating flights
    The remaining 45 queens were put in nucleus hives of AmC only workers
    The testing of all the local bee populations was 1 worker from each hive in 3 main apiaries


    I didn't understand the statistical analyses of the results
    The result they say was that in this case there was more hybridisation in the introduced Carnica queens than the introduced Amm queens

    but they also say in the study
    "most beekeepers declare that they keep AMC, while our preliminary studies show that most colonies belong to the native AMM "

    Not sure if thats just the one bee tested from each hive or some other study, but they then have to adjust the results to compensate for this effect ?

    I

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Hi Jon
    that's interesting but what is the mechanism by which queens can "choose " their mates
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Bees make very rapid decisions whether or not to challenge a robber so I think mid-air choice is feasible for queens. There is also the valve fold which gives her choice at the actual moment. There has been talk (loose talk?) of different types flying at different heights.
    ...
    I haven't yet watched or read any of the links, but I've read your posts, so apologies for maybe misunderstanding what you're talking about - but regards to choice on mating flights, Jürgen Tautz, in his book, The Buzz about Bees (a book I enjoyed reading and is easy to understand) thinks that the workers that accompany the virgin queen might perhaps play an active role in chasing away undesirable drones during the mating flight. (p.131 - The Buzz about Bees). He describes how drones are chased away from a virgin queen placed outside the hive. He says,
    The aim of the worker bees is not clear, nor is it known whether this behaviour is an exception, or the rule. Nevertheless, it would appear that workers closely associated with the queen allow some drones access to her, and others not.
    Kitta

  10. #30

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    That's a very well made point Kitta
    If related drones from her hive accompany her
    That makes complete sense to me as a selection mechanism
    Also why drones would accompany the queen and the avoidance of inbreeding
    And why mating takes place at the DCA and not the fly lanes on the route
    I could accept suitor drones best not tangle with her brothers
    Thank you very much I have learned something or made it up not sure which

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    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 25-11-2015 at 12:32 AM.

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