Recruitment to food by the German yellowjacket, Vespula germanica
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The hypothesis that Vespula germanica foragers can recruit nestmates to food resources was tested using a protocol that controlled for the biasing effects of social factors at the resource, including local enhancement and food-site marking substances. Foragers from an observation colony in the field were trained to visit a dish of scented corn syrup solution 15 m east of the nest. A second feeding station, 22 m northeast of the nest, offered incoming foragers a choice between food with the training scent and food with a control scent. Significantly more naive foragers arriving at that station chose the food with the training scent. We conclude that the German yellowjacket is able to recruit nestmates to carbohydrate food sources, and that recruits use food odor to locate the source of food being brought into the nest.
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