Honey production gains are needed to deal with high demand in Saudi Arabia. The honey bee races are facing stressful hot-arid weather conditions that can affect different aspects of physiology and behavior. The hypopharyngeal glands (HPGs) of honey bees have prominent roles in various social behaviors through their secretions. The measurement of acini size and lipofuscin accumulation indicates the changes in HPGs in response to different factors including weather and behavioral castes. This research aimed to reveal how natural harsh environment of summer and winter can shape the HPGs in foragers and nurses of an indigenous bee race (Apis mellifera jemenitica Ruttner) in comparison with two exotic bee races (Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann and Apis mellifera ligustica Spinola). This study presents new information of significant differences in the HPGs of two behavioral castes (nurses and foragers) of indigenous and exotic bee races under harsh natural environmental conditions. HPGs of foragers have significantly higher lipofuscin accumulation and smaller acini size than nurse bees in all tested races during summer and winter seasons. A strong inverse correlation was found between acini size and lipofuscin accumulation in each race in both seasons. Smaller acini size and lipofuscin accumulation were detected in the HPGs of indigenous bees (foragers and nurses) than exotic bee races during both seasons. The acini size and lipofuscin accumulation were similar between exotic bee races but higher than that of the indigenous bee race.
- Honey bee races
- Hypopharyngeal glands
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science