Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 89, Issue 7, pp 299–301

Hot spots in the bee hive

  • Brigitte Bujok
  • Marco Kleinhenz
  • Stefan Fuchs
  • Jürgen Tautz
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-002-0338-7

Cite this article as:
Bujok, B., Kleinhenz, M., Fuchs, S. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2002) 89: 299. doi:10.1007/s00114-002-0338-7

Abstract.

Honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera) maintain temperatures of 35–36°C in their brood nest because the brood needs high and constant temperature conditions for optimal development. We show that incubation of the brood at the level of individual honeybees is done by worker bees performing a particular and not yet specified behaviour: such bees raise the brood temperature by pressing their warm thoraces firmly onto caps under which the pupae develop. The bees stay motionless in a characteristic posture and have significantly higher thoracic temperatures than bees not assuming this posture in the brood area. The surface of the brood caps against which warm bees had pressed their thorax were up to 3.2°C warmer than the surrounding area, confirming that effective thermal transfer had taken place.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigitte Bujok
    • 1
  • Marco Kleinhenz
    • 1
  • Stefan Fuchs
    • 2
  • Jürgen Tautz
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie, Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
  2. 2.Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft) Fachbereich Biologie der J. W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany