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Heritability of hygienic behavior in grey honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica)

Author(s): Stanimirović Zoran | Stevanović Jevrosima | Mirilović M. | Stojić V.

Journal: Acta Veterinaria
ISSN 0567-8315

Volume: 58;
Issue: 5-6;
Start page: 593;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Apis mellifera carnica | heritability of hygienic behavior

Breeding grey A. m. carnica queens for hygienic behavior is beneficial for commercial beekeeping in Serbia, since hygienic behavior is associated with the resistance to the mite Varroa destructor, as well as to American foulbrood and chalk brood. In this work, heritability of hygienic behavior was analyzed in autochthonous grey A. m. carnica honey bees from Šumadija region in order to ascertain if the expression of their hygienic behavior could be enhanced through selective breeding. Heritability of hygienic behavior was monitored through three queen generations and estimated by one-parent-offspring regression method (motherdaughter regression method). The heritability values for hygienic behavior were h2=0.63±0.02 in relationship between daughter queens (F1s) and breeder mother queens (Ps), h2=0.45±0.01 in relationship between grand-daughter queens (F2s) and Ps and h2=0.44±0.02 in relationship between F2s and F1s. These results show that the expression of hygienic behavior through selective breeding could be enhanced and the best results could be achieved in the F1 generation. It is important to emphasize that the F1 colonies bred for hygienic behavior in our study suffer no apparent costs in reproductive and productive performances.
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