Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 343–351

The Releaser Effects of the Tergal Gland Secretion of Queen Honeybees (Apis mellifera)


DOI: 10.1023/A:1020839505622

Cite this article as:
Wossler, T.C. & Crewe, R.M. Journal of Insect Behavior (1999) 12: 343. doi:10.1023/A:1020839505622


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.

honeybeetergal glandmandibular glandpheromonequeen pheromoneretinue

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Communication Biology Research Group, Department of ZoologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa