Spatial distribution of Vespa velutina individuals hunting at domestic honeybee hives: heterogeneity at a local scale. - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Insect Science Year : 2014

Spatial distribution of Vespa velutina individuals hunting at domestic honeybee hives: heterogeneity at a local scale.

Abstract

Since its recent introduction into Europe, the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, has become a major predator of the domestic honeybee, Apis mellifera, but little is known about its hunting behavior. We studied V. velutina hunting behavior by a capture-mark-recapture procedure in an experimental apiary. A total of 360 hornets were captured and tagged, and we determined: (i) the number of hornets visiting the apiary and the changes in time, (ii) the average number of individual visits per half-day and the time elapsed between consecutive recaptures, and (iii) the individual and global distribution of the hornets in the apiary. More than 50% of the marked hornets were recaptured at least once, this increased to 74% in considering the first marked individuals. We estimated 350 hornets visiting the patch daily with at least 1 visit per half-day. The number of marked hornets decreased over time while the number of unmarked ones increased, suggesting a turnover of individuals. The reduction of the delay between consecutive visits indicates that hornets became more efficient over time. Most of the hornets (88%) were recaptured in front of different hives but, overall, the global distribution was aggregative. Hornets were mainly recaptured in front of 1 hive which was neither the smallest nor the biggest colony, suggesting that the major cue used by hornets is not the amount of food. We hypothesize that the defensive behavior of the honeybee colony could explain our results which may be promising to further studies.

Dates and versions

hal-01097256 , version 1 (19-12-2014)

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Karine Monceau, Olivier Bonnard, Jérôme Moreau, Denis Thiéry. Spatial distribution of Vespa velutina individuals hunting at domestic honeybee hives: heterogeneity at a local scale.. Insect Science, 2014, 21 (6), pp.765-774. ⟨10.1111/1744-7917.12090⟩. ⟨hal-01097256⟩
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