Navigation Links
Pheromone increases foraging honey bees, leads to healthier hives

CORVALLIS, Ore. The application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall, according to a new study conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and Texas A&M University.

The study, which appeared this week in the journal, PLoS ONE, comes amid national concern over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) a combination of events that result in the death of a bee colony. The causes behind CCD remain unknown, but researchers are focusing on four possible contributing factors: disease, pests, environmental conditions and nutrition.

According to Ramesh Sagili, coauthor on the study, "Division of labor associated with brood rearing in the honey bee: how does it translate to colony fitness?" resiliency to CCD may be increased through better hive management and the use of optimal dose of brood pheromone -- a chemical released by honey bee larvae that communicates the presence of larvae in the colony to adult bees. The optimal dose of brood pheromone that can stimulate colony growth may vary depending on the colony size, time of application and several other factors.

The number of larvae present in the hive affects the ratio of adult foraging bees to non-foragers in favor of foragers, said Sagili. In the study, when low levels of brood pheromone were introduced to experimental hives foragers collected more pollen, said Sagili.

Nectar is a carbohydrate source for both adults and larvae, while pollen is the primary source of protein. Nurse bees utilize pollen to produce brood food that is provisioned to the growing larvae in the colony. More pollen is equitable to better overall nutrition, one of the areas of concern in the appearance of CCD.

"The low brood pheromone treatment triggered higher pollen collection in the study," said Sagili, who holds an OSU Extension Service appointment and studies honey bee health, nutrition, pheromone biology and pollination in OSU's Department of Horticulture. "Colonies exposed to low levels of synthetic brood pheromone exhibited higher foraging populations, a decrease in the age of first foraging and greater foraging effort. The result is increased colony growth an indicator of colony fitness."

The researchers also treated colonies with high levels of brood pheromone. They found the higher treatments were ineffective in increasing the number of foraging bees present in the colony, and in changing the amount of pollen an individual bee brought back to the hive.

"It's logical to assume that a higher dose of pheromone would result in higher pollen collection within the colonies as it would signify more larvae to rear," said Sagili. "Our results did not support that assumption."

An upper threshold for the pheromone may exist and when that threshold is reached a negative feedback might kick in, said Sagili. Colonies may try to balance the ratio of adults to larvae, and that in turn may lead to higher number of adults remaining in the nest for brood care and less bees foraging for resources.

Brood pheromone is not currently used in commercial bee keeping, however its application in research may result in the uncovering of mechanisms related to the division of labor, foraging strategies and colony fitness.


Contact: Ramesh Sagili
Oregon State University

Related biology news :

1. Chloride increases response to pheromones and odors in mouse sensory neurons
2. Squid pheromone sparks extreme aggression on contact
3. Exercise increases brain growth factor and receptors, prevents stem cell drop in middle age
4. European ancestry increases breast cancer risk among Latinas
5. Long-term use of diabetes drugs by women significantly increases risk of fractures
6. Sweetened beverage consumption increases in the US
7. Gene mutation increases drug toxicity, rejection risk in pediatric kidney transplants
8. Indoor air pollution increases asthma symptoms
9. Lower increases in global temps could lead to greater impacts than previously thought, study finds
10. Agent Orange exposure increases veterans risk of aggressive recurrence of prostate cancer
11. Researchers identify a molecule that increases the risk of cardiac insufficiency
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/12/2016)... , a brand of Troubadour ... from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. ... receptivity to a program where they would receive discounts ... company. "We were surprised to see that ... LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there ...
(Date:5/3/2016)...  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric identification ... Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system for ... can process multiple complex biometric transactions with high ... face or iris biometrics. It leverages the core ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used in ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 First quarter ... (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was ... (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 ... 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm ... Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is ... last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS Translational ... lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem cells ... this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: