4.16. Rearing reproductives in the laboratory

According to investigations on honey bee workers, there are many reports on rearing queen bees in the laboratory (Hanser, 1983; Patel et al., 2007). Most recently, Kamakura (2011) produced queens feeding just one basic diet with 6 % glucose, 6 % fructose and 1 % yeast extract, and no increase of matters in the following diets. Amounts of diets and reason for queen development are not given. The same plastic cups can be used, as they are also applied in queen breeding in the colony.

In vitro rearing of drone larvae is also possible feeding previously established worker diets at least up to the prepupal phase (Herrmann et al., 2005; Behrens et al. 2007; 2010) and even up to adult emergence (Woyke, 1963; Takeuchi et al., 1972). However, in some cases the control mortality in drones during in vitro rearing was higher than in workers. This could be due the fact that drone larvae might in fact need a slightly different food composition than workers (Hrassnigg and Crailsheim, 2005) which has not been studied in detail yet. But also the longer developmental time (especially during the very critical pupal phase) or lethal factors that become visible in the haploid genome might play a role. Clearly, more work is needed to obtain results in drones that are comparable to those of workers and queens. Especially the timing of changing diets would need to be adapted to the development of drone larvae.