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Monthly changes in various drone characteristics of Apis mellifera ligustica and Apis mellifera syriaca


Shahera Zaitoun, Department of Plant Production and Protection, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Al-Balqa' Applied University, Al-Salt, Jordan. Email:


This study was conducted to investigate drone rearing activity and semen production of Apis mellifera ligustica and Apis mellifera syriaca. Tendency of worker bees of both subspecies towards egg laying under semiarid conditions were also monitored in the experiments. Differences were not observed in drone brood production between both honeybee subspecies throughout the investigation. Worker bees of both subspecies needed a significantly shorter time to start egg laying during February and March in comparison with the time those workers needed for laying eggs during the remaining months of the study. Syrian bee workers started egg laying earlier than Italian bee workers. Drones from laying workers were much smaller and produced less sperms with more abnormalities than normal drones. Drones produced from queens in May were heavier and produced more sperms with less abnormalities than those produced during the other months. The drone brood rearing of both subspecies tended to follow the same general cycle in 2005 and 2006. The study suggests that virgin queens have a better chance to receive adequate viable sperm amounts from drones in April and May in semiarid Mediterranean conditions.