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Insects 2013, 4(4), 521-532; doi:10.3390/insects4040521

Hygienic Behavior of Africanized Honey Bees Apis mellifera Directed towards Brood in Old and New Combs during Diurnal and Nocturnal Periods

1
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil
2
Science and Technology Department, Federal University of São Paulo, São José dos Campos, SP 12231-280, Brazil
3
School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, São Paulo University, São Paulo, SP 03828-000, Brazil
4
Department of Animal Sciences, Federal Rural University of Semiarid, Mossoró, RN 59625-900, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 May 2013 / Revised: 30 July 2013 / Accepted: 2 September 2013 / Published: 26 September 2013
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Abstract

Hygienic behavior in honey bees, Apis mellifera, is measured by determining the rate at which the bees uncap and remove dead sealed brood. We analyzed individual behavior of house-cleaning Africanized honey bees in order to focus on some poorly understood aspects of hygienic behavior. Two observation hives, each with approximately 3,000 individually marked bees, were used in this study. The efficiency of hygienic behavior was evaluated in hygienic and non-hygienic strains of bees using two types of combs (new and old), as well as at different periods of the day (night and day). We also recorded the age of workers that performed this task of removing dead brood. In both strains, the workers that performed tasks related to hygienic behavior were within the same age cohort; we found no influence of age on the amount of time dedicated to the task, independent of the type of comb or period of the day. The total time from perforation of the cell capping until the dead brood had been completely removed, and was significantly shorter during daytime than at night. Hygienic behavior directed towards dead brood in new combs was also significantly more efficient (faster) than for brood in old combs. The type of comb had significantly more effect than did the time of day. We conclude that the type of comb and time of day should be taken into consideration when evaluating hygienic behavior in honey bees. View Full-Text
Keywords: hygienic behavior; Apis mellifera; social insects; behavior of bees; Africanized honey bees hygienic behavior; Apis mellifera; social insects; behavior of bees; Africanized honey bees
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pereira, R.A.; Morais, M.M.; Francoy, T.M.; Gonçalves, L.S. Hygienic Behavior of Africanized Honey Bees Apis mellifera Directed towards Brood in Old and New Combs during Diurnal and Nocturnal Periods. Insects 2013, 4, 521-532.

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