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Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 209–214 | Cite as

Floral oils: their effect on nestmate recognition in the honey bee, Apis mellifera

  • R. M. Bowden
  • S. Williamson
  • M. D. Breed

Summary:

Floral oils are an important component of the honey bee's olfactory environment. We use laboratory and field tests to determine whether floral oils affect nestmate recognition in honey bees. In the laboratory, newly emerged worker bees, that have not been exposed to comb wax, responded more aggressively to bees that had been exposed to floral oils than unexposed control bees. In the field, guard bees did not respond differently to foragers that had been exposed to floral oils. Floral oils may play a supplementary role in nestmate recognition; however, if they have any effect it is secondary to cues acquired from comb way during development.

Key words: Honey bee, nestmate recognition, floral scents, essential oils. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Bowden
    • 1
  • S. Williamson
    • 1
  • M. D. Breed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0334, USA. E-mail: breed@spot.colorado.eduUS

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