The Releaser Effects of the Tergal Gland Secretion of Queen Honeybees (Apis mellifera)
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- Wossler, T.C. & Crewe, R.M. Journal of Insect Behavior (1999) 12: 343. doi:10.1023/A:1020839505622
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Queen honeybees are attractive to their workers, due partially to the pheromonal bouquet they secrete. Queen mandibular gland pheromone is a powerful attractant to worker honeybees but it is not solely responsible for eliciting retinue behavior. The attractiveness of virgin queen tergal gland secretions and queen mandibular pheromone to worker honeybees was tested using a retinue bioassay. The number of workers attending the treated pseudoqueen lures was videorecorded in order to allow for the quantification of attractiveness. Queen mandibular gland secretions were more attractive than tergal gland secretions (P ≤ 0.008), and both queen tergal gland secretions (P ≤ 0.0002) and mandibular gland secretions (P ≤ 0.0001) were significantly more attractive than the control treatment. This laboratory bioassay indicates that queen tergal gland secretions have a releaser effect that evokes retinue behavior from worker honeybees.