CHEMOECOLOGY

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 6–12

Chemical recognition of queen cells by honey bee workersApis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

  • Yves Le Conte
  • Leam Sreng
  • Nelly Sacher
  • Jérôme Trouiller
  • Georges Dusticier
  • Serge Henri Poitout
Research papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF01259967

Cite this article as:
Conte, Y.L., Sreng, L., Sacher, N. et al. Chemoecology (1994) 5: 6. doi:10.1007/BF01259967

Summary

Honey bee workers are able to nurse or to destroy and thus to recognize the capped queen cells containing a pupa. Fatty acid esters, especially methyl oleate, methyl palmitate and ethyl oleate were found in significant amounts on the queen pupal cuticle. Methyl oleate, the major component, along with smaller amounts of methyl linoleate and methyl linolenate, were involved in the recognition of queen cells by workers. In natural conditions of the colony, queen cells containing a paraffin pupal lure with methyl oleate were accepted 5.9 days by workers, releasing about 1.8 queen pupa equivalents during that period, when control cells (without ester) were kept only 2.1 days. Although these esters are non specific to honey bees, they are of great importance in social regulation of the honey bee colony.

Key words

chemical communication queen cells brood pheromone brood recognition fatty acid esters Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yves Le Conte
    • 1
  • Leam Sreng
    • 2
  • Nelly Sacher
    • 1
  • Jérôme Trouiller
    • 2
  • Georges Dusticier
    • 2
  • Serge Henri Poitout
    • 1
  1. 1.Station de Recherches de Zoologie et d'ApidologieINRAMontfavet CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Neurobiologie — Communication Chimique. CNRS LNB8.Marseille Cedex 09France
  3. 3.Department of ChemistrySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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