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Technique for rearing worker honeybees in the laboratory

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 26 (2) pp. 90-97
June 1987
Article Title

Technique for rearing worker honeybees in the laboratory


J. D. Vandenberg And H. Shimanuki


A technique was developed for rearing worker honeybees (Apis mellifera) from larvae in the laboratory. Larvae were reared in beeswax cups in petri dishes at 34°C and 96% relative humidity (RH). Eighty-eight to 96% of larvae transferred at one day of age survived to the defecation stage on a mixed diet consisting of royal jelly (RJ), water, glucose, fructose, and yeast extract or on RJ for one or two days followed by the mixed diet. Fewer larvae survived (75%) when the mixed diet was prepared without yeast extract. Use of wax cells resulted in greater larval survival (90%) than use of plastic cells (57%). Success at metamorphosis was greater when larvae were transferred at the onset of defecation to a gauze rather than a wax substrate (75% vs 35%) at 70% RH. Adult weights were higher (average 112 mg) when larvae were reared on the mixed diet alone than when reared on RJ for one day followed by mixed diet (average 102 mg). The technique will facilitate studies of honeybee brood diseases.


rearing techniques, worker bees, pupae development

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