Domestically raised queens not promiscuous enough

A lot of theories have been brought forward as to the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in the honey bee world, including diseases, parasites and ingestion of farm chemicals. Sometimes feeding on genetically modified crops is blamed. The latest theory also has to do with genetics, but it’s of the bees themselves, rather than what they feed on. Domestically raised queens, it is argued, aren’t promiscuous enough.

The study, conducted by scientists in the department of biological sciences, Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, asserts that in the wild a queen mates with an average of 12 different drones, “and a reported record of 44,” resulting in a genetically diverse colony. A domestically raised queen is inseminated by one or two drones.

Better Farming - May 2012