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A Study of Honey Bee1 Drone Attraction in the Mating Response2,3

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The primary drone congregation area of Apis mellifera L. discovered by Zmarlicki and Morse in 1962 has persisted unchanged through 1965-68; their secondary congregation areas were little changed in 1967-68. A substantial decrease in the number of drones available to these areas had little effect on drone attraction at a given site. Three primary drone congregation areas were mapped. They varied in size, but had boundaries marked by vertical relief (trees, buildings, etc.) . Surface (ground) conditions do not seem to affect drone congregation. The author was not able to destroy congregation areas with benzaldehyde, a known bee repellent, or with the alarm substances isopentyl acetate and 2-hepatone. However, large amounts of the synthetic sex attractant produced "artificial" congregation areas. Within a congregation area, drones discriminated between objects bearing the synthetic sex attractant. For a given object a 10.06% increase in the amount of attractant produced a 1% increase in attraction, for a range of 0.005-5 mg of attractant. Increasing the size of the object from 3 cm2, slightly smaller than a normal queen, by multiples of 2 to 384 cm2 resulted in progressively decreased drone attraction. Drones were able to distinguish and seemed to have preference for darker colors and certain shapes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1970

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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