Med. Weter. 68 (10), 589-593, 2012

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Kasperek K., Paleolog J., Olszewski K., Borsuk G., Strachecka A.
Comparison of the defensive behaviour of Apis mellifera L workers and the aggression of their queen sisters
There are two situations in which bees fight and show aggression: protection of the nest and reproductive competition. This inspired the authors to verify the hypothesis that the intensity of workers defensive behavior corresponds with the aggressiveness of their queen sisters. Two calm Buckfast colonies (C1 and C2) and two aggressive European black bee hybrids colonies (A1 and A2) were used. The defensive behavior of workers was assessed with 45 sting tests for each colony. The aggressiveness of queens – sisters of the workers from C1, C2, A1, A2 was assessed by observing queen pairs fighting in prepared arenas for 15 hours in the following combinations: C1C1, C2C2, A1A1, A2A2. Queen stings were clipped. In total, 176 pairs of queens were tested. Behaviors of the workers and their queen sisters were compared. The classification of the workers (several traits were considered), starting with the calmest and ending with the most aggressive, (C1 < C2 < A1 < A2) differed from the aggressiveness classification of their queen sisters (A2 < C1 < C2 < A1). Consequently, the intensity of workers’ defensive behavior does not clearly correspond with the aggressiveness of their queen sisters. This may be due to different physiological conditions and different emotive reactions developed in the course of evolution.
Key words: Apis mellifera, defensive behavior, aggressive behavior, bee queens