Diurnal and seasonal changes of defensive behavior of Africanized bees (“Apis mellifera” L.)

SUMMARY The defensive behavior of Apis mellifera L. is a form of protection from predators and prevent theft in the hive. This work aimed to evaluate the diurnal and seasonal variation in defensiveness of Africanized bees through defensive behavior tests. The survey was conducted in three apiaries in the Paraiba state, Brazil. Every apiary had 30 colonies, housed in standard Langstroth hives. From them, 10 colonies were randomly selected and identified from 01 to 10, with similar adult population and raising area. The defensive behavior tests were performed on each hive, one at a time, chosen in three repetitions, the times of 07:00 to 10:00, from 12:00 to 14:00 and 15:00 to 17:00 and in two stages, in a month of the rainy season (April) and another month of the dry season (August), being held only once a month, due to the large loss test by bees. The obtained results showed that the time positively influenced the defensiveness of the analyzed bees, being from 15: 00h to 17: 00h the time of most aggressiveness in both periods of the year. In the dry season the bees showed less defensive than in the rainy season. The analysis of obtained data characterized the bees as highly defensive, with most evident defensiveness at the evening and the rainy season.