Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 143–149

Allometric relations, metabolism and heart conductance in clusters of honey bees at cool temperatures

Authors

  • Edward E. Southwick
    • Fachbereich BiologieJ.W. Goethe-Universität, Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Frankfurt/M
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00692937

Cite this article as:
Southwick, E.E. J Comp Physiol B (1985) 156: 143. doi:10.1007/BF00692937

Summary

Clusters of honey bees,Apis mellifera carnica, showed a clear dependence of oxygen consumption and heat conductance on bee cluster mass (between 5 g and 1.2 kg) when exposed to a cold temperature (2°C) overnight. As the bee cluster mass was increased, total cluster metabolism increased. Mass-specific oxygen consumption,\(\dot V_{O_2 } \), decreased with increasing mass following the relation:\(\dot V_{O_2 } \) = 22.69BW−0.479 (Fig. 1). Larger clusters of bees had lower heat conductance (i.e., better insulation) than the smaller groups (Fig. 4). The mechanisms of adaptation and adjustment to cold temperature in bee clusters are discussed and compared with those of mammals and birds.

Abbreviations

Ta

ambient temperature in environmental cabinet

Iin

air temperature inside bee chamber but outside bees

Tc

core temperature of bee cluster

Tb

body temperature

\(\dot V_{O_2 } \)

oxygen consumption

C

heat conductance

BW

body mass or cluster mass

MR

metabolic rate

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© Springer-Verlag 1985