2.2.5. Evaluation of a mating station: biological conditions

Mating between the virgin honey bee queen and numerous mature drones occurs in the air, at a certain distance from the hives, in rendezvous sites called “Drone Congregation Areas (DCA) (Koeniger and Koeniger, 2007; Zmarlicki and Morse, 1963). Location of DCAs tends to remain constant over time. When establishing a mating station, it can be useful to assess the presence of surrounding colonies and DCAs. This can be achieved in several ways, as described in the sections below. A comparison of the methods described below can be found in Table 4.

Table 4. A comparison of methods used to determine adult worker and drone honey bee presence in a prospective mating area. + = optimal, 0 = acceptable, - = suboptimal.

Method

Accessibility

Applicability

Efficacy

Price

Notes

 

Honey traps

+

+

o

+

Attracts worker bees

 

Wax melting traps

+

+

+

+

Attracts worker bees

 

Synthesized 9-ODA

-

+

+

-

Attracts drones

 

Extracted queen

pheromone

o

+

+

o

Attracts drones

 

Fixed live queen

+

o

+

o

Attracts drones

 

Fixed model queen + pheromone

-

-

+

o

Attracts drones

2.2.5.2. Pheromone traps to estimate drone density