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The Emergence of Swarms From Apis Mellifera Colonies

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image of Behaviour

1. Many bees that returned to their old site when part of their colony was moved a short distance went and remained with the swarm when the same colony swarmed. Evidently swarming changed the behaviour of the bees that swarmed so that they were less inclined to return to their old position. 2. Bees added to a crowded colony while it was swarming went with the swarm With an uncrowded colony bees added very shortly before swarming were not found in the swarm, though some bees added two days before were. 3. Colonies deprived of their hives and combs behaved like swarms and absconded. Bees from an absconding colony could cause another hiveless and combless colony held close to the first to abscond immediately. 4. Worker bees probably always have the ability to swarm; those that swarm from a crowded colony appear to be a random selection of the colony's population and not previously differentiated from the ones that stay behind. What happens when an uncrowdel colony swarms is less certain.

Affiliations: 1: Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts.


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