Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 59–67

The repellent scent-mark of the honeybeeApis mellifera tigustica and its role as communication cue during foraging

  • M. Giurfa
Research Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF01338832

Cite this article as:
Giurfa, M. Ins. Soc (1993) 40: 59. doi:10.1007/BF01338832


Experimental evidence for flower-marking in honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica), using pairs of workers from the same colony foraging on an artificial patch of flowers, is reported. Workers marked artificial flowers with scent and strongly rejected all flowers they had recently visited. The same rejection behavior, in a lower although significant proportion, was observed when bees visited flowers just abandoned by the other individual of the pair. The repellent nature of this scent-mark was demonstrated with the use of an air extractor connected to the patch of artificial flowers. When the apparatus was turned on, the rejection behavior disappeared and bees accepted both flowers just abandoned by themselves and flowers just abandoned by the other bee. Differences in the response level of bees to their own marks or to the partner's marks suggest that the repellent scent-mark applied by a bee during foraging would basically be a self-use signal, although it certainly has value in communicating with other workers.

Key words

Apis mellifera ligusticascent-markingcommunicationpheromoneforaging

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Giurfa
    • 1
  1. 1.Depto. de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactasy NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Institut für NeurobiologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlin 33Germany