Influence of management and environmental factors on mating success of Africanized queen honey bees
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Environmental factors and management techniques were evaluated in São Paulo, Brazil, for enhanced production of Africanized queen honey bees. Queens were reared by the Doolittle method; 12 breeder, 6 cell-builder, and 36 3-frame nucleus colonies were used. Nine groups of four virgin Africanized queen honey bees were subjected to the following treatments: queens were either 1-2, 3-4 or 5-6 days old and were released into mating nuclei containing either capped brood, uncapped brood or no brood. This was repeated sixteen times between August 1990 and August 1992. Seven repetitions occurred during nectar flow periods and nine repetitions occurred during nectar-dearth periods. Overall, 59% of 576 queens were successfully introduced and mated. The best results (93% success) were obtained during nectar flows, with 3- to 4-day-old queens released into nuclei containing capped brood. During nectar dearths the best mating success came from queens introduced into broodless nuclei (63%), the age of the queen did not influence mating success. Mating success decreased when wind velocity increased; this was the only significant meteorological effect found.