Research Article

Africanized honey bees are efficient at detecting, uncapping and removing dead brood

Published: June 23, 2009
Genet. Mol. Res. 8 (2) : 718-724 DOI: 10.4238/vol8-2kerr020

Abstract

The hygienic behavior of honey bees is based on a two-step process, including uncapping and removing diseased, dead, damaged, or parasitized brood inside the cell. We evaluated during periods of 1 h the time that hygienic and non-hygienic colonies of Africanized honey bees spend to detect, uncap and remove pin-killed brood using comb inserts with transparent walls placed in observation hives. We observed that hygienic colonies are significantly faster in detecting, uncapping and removing dead brood in the cells (P 0.001).

The hygienic behavior of honey bees is based on a two-step process, including uncapping and removing diseased, dead, damaged, or parasitized brood inside the cell. We evaluated during periods of 1 h the time that hygienic and non-hygienic colonies of Africanized honey bees spend to detect, uncap and remove pin-killed brood using comb inserts with transparent walls placed in observation hives. We observed that hygienic colonies are significantly faster in detecting, uncapping and removing dead brood in the cells (P 0.001).