, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 143-149

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

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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.