2.2. Mating control

Honey bee breeding programmes and specific research projects depend on controlling the queen’s mating process. In addition to the well-developed instrumental insemination technique (see the BEEBOOK paper on instrumental insemination (Cobey et al., 2013) isolated mating stations can serve as an efficient technique for control of honey bee mating for commercial and scientific purposes.

Because drones completely avoid passing over large stretches of water, islands offer an excellent opportunity to establish a fully controlled genetic composition of drones. On the mainland, mating control depends on the isolation of drone colonies by geographic distance (limited flight range of drones and queens) or barriers (high mountains etc.). A comparison of mating apiaries located in both areas is offered in Table 2.

Table 2. Parameters associated with locating mating apiaries on islands or the mainland.

Mating station type

Accessibility & Applicability

Mating

control

Mating

risks

Weather conditions

Costs per queen

 

Mainland

+

o

+

o

+

 

Island

-

+

o

o

-

+ = optimal, 0 = acceptable, - = suboptimal


 
 

2.2.6. Assessment of honey bee queen and drone behaviour