During a bee fauna survey in the countryside of northern Sardinia, a honey bee queen (Apis mellifera L.) was detected while foraging on a borage (Borago officinalis L.) flower in Uri, Province of Sassari, Italy, most likely during an orientation flight before mating. Morphological details, detectable from photos with the naked eye and stereomicroscopic observations, confirmed that the honey bee queen was sucking nectar from a flower. The enormous development of the abdomen, lack of pollen-collecting structures in the legs and other characteristics such as the typical distally bilobed shape of the mandibles, with long hairs on their outer surface, proved the structural differences between the queen specimen and the other castes of bees. The queen’s proboscis, which is shorter compared to the workers, may have been counterbalanced by the shape and nectar production of the borage flower. This new observation proves that the queen can feed herself under natural conditions, likely to obtain the energy required for flying. Although we cannot exclude disturbing factors that could explain this foraging behaviour of a queen observed for the first time, this note opens a new scenario and discusses this new finding in the context of the available literature on the queen’s behaviour and questions to be answered.

Where is the honey bee queen flying? The original case of a foraging queen / Floris, I.; Pusceddu, M.; Niolu, P.; Satta, A.. - In: INSECTS. - ISSN 2075-4450. - 12:11(2021), p. 1035. [10.3390/insects12111035]

Where is the honey bee queen flying? The original case of a foraging queen

Floris I.
;
Pusceddu M.;Satta A.
Membro del Collaboration Group
2021

Abstract

During a bee fauna survey in the countryside of northern Sardinia, a honey bee queen (Apis mellifera L.) was detected while foraging on a borage (Borago officinalis L.) flower in Uri, Province of Sassari, Italy, most likely during an orientation flight before mating. Morphological details, detectable from photos with the naked eye and stereomicroscopic observations, confirmed that the honey bee queen was sucking nectar from a flower. The enormous development of the abdomen, lack of pollen-collecting structures in the legs and other characteristics such as the typical distally bilobed shape of the mandibles, with long hairs on their outer surface, proved the structural differences between the queen specimen and the other castes of bees. The queen’s proboscis, which is shorter compared to the workers, may have been counterbalanced by the shape and nectar production of the borage flower. This new observation proves that the queen can feed herself under natural conditions, likely to obtain the energy required for flying. Although we cannot exclude disturbing factors that could explain this foraging behaviour of a queen observed for the first time, this note opens a new scenario and discusses this new finding in the context of the available literature on the queen’s behaviour and questions to be answered.
Where is the honey bee queen flying? The original case of a foraging queen / Floris, I.; Pusceddu, M.; Niolu, P.; Satta, A.. - In: INSECTS. - ISSN 2075-4450. - 12:11(2021), p. 1035. [10.3390/insects12111035]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11388/274285
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