Navigation Links
Smells like bees' spirit
Date:8/13/2008

Bumblebees choose whether to search for food according to how stocked their nests are, say scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

When bumblebees return to the nest from a successful foraging mission, they produce a pheromone which encourages their nest mates to also go out and find food. Scientists had originally thought that these pheromones elicited a standard response from all bees. But new research from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has shown that bees' response to the pheromone changes according to their situation.

Dr Mathieu Molet and Dr Nigel Raine have shown that worker bees are much more likely to respond to the pheromone and leave the nest in search of food, if the colony has little or no food reserves left.

"Flying around all day to find nectar and pollen from flowers is hard work. So it makes sense that bees are more likely to respond to the pheromone when honey reserves are low," said Dr Molet.

Writing in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, the NERC-funded* team explain how they used radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology (the same electronic tagging system used in a London Underground oyster card) to automatically record the activity of bees in the lab.

Different colonies of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) were stocked with different levels of food reserves (honeypots). Artificial foraging pheromones were applied to the bees, and they were monitored over 16,000 'foraging bouts'. The response to the pheromones was stronger in colonies with less food - with more worker bees becoming active, and more foraging bouts being performed.

The team's findings suggest that the pheromone can modulate a bumblebee's foraging activity - preventing needless energy expenditure and exposure to risk when food stores are already high. In future, such artificial pheromones could also be used to increase the effectiveness of bumblebee colonies pollinating commercial crops, such as tomatoes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sian Halkyard
s.halkyard@qmul.ac.uk
07-970-096-175
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Irritating smells alert special cells, NIH-funded study finds
2. Gene determines whether male body odor smells pleasant
3. Saving our bees
4. Wasps and bumble bees heat up, fly faster with protein-rich food
5. Want to fly? Dont copy the birds and the bees
6. Bees disease -- 1 step closer to finding a cure
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of biometrics software and ... ended December 31, 2015.  --> ... million, an increase of 61% compared to $4.3 million in the ... 2015 was $2.6 million compared to $0.2 million in the fourth ... Higher revenue and operating income in the fourth quarter of ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... LONDON , Feb. 4, 2016 ... is apparently one of the most popular hubs ... Project, MetaHIT and other huge studies of human ... that past few years, the microbiome space has ... applied biomedical research. This report focuses on ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 3, 2016 ... the "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market ... Others), Software Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition ... Regions - Global forecast to 2020" ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) has announced the addition ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ LLC today ... beta program for a planned metagenomic genome assembly service. ... company,s metagenomic genome assembly method in a talk on ... Biology & Technology conference in Orlando, Fla. ... highly complex datasets is difficult. Using its proprietary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, has ... The new facility will provide advanced protocols and state-of-the-art techniques in cellular medicine, ... , The new GSCG clinic is headed by four prominent Ecuadorian physicians, including ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... is introducing a hybrid membership model which will provide ... joining or renewing through an organizational purchasing model. For ... employee in any size association or AMC office can ... benefits.   John H. Graham, IV , ... organizations of any size and their employees to gain ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles ... Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: