Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 2041–2053 | Cite as

Semiochemical basis of infestation of honey bee brood byVarroa jacobsoni

  • Jerome Trouiller
  • Gerard Arnold
  • Bertrand Chappe
  • Yves Le Conte
  • Claudine Masson


Capping of workerApis mellifera cells is elicited by four fatty acid methyl esters (Methyl palmitate, methyl oleate, methyl linoleate, and methyl linolenate) that are present on the surface of the worker and drone larvae only a few hours before the cell is closed. The amount of the pheromone reaches its maximum value when the cell has just been capped, at 8.5 and at 10.25 days of age, respectively, for worker and drone larvae. Thereafter, the amount of the pheromone decreases to its initial level. These data suggest that the esters also have a role in the capping of the drone cells, the temporal signal allowing the worker bees to recognize the age of the larvae and then to do the appropriate behavior. Two pheromonal components, methyl palmitate and methyl linolenate, and the inactive ethyl palmitate are kairomones attractive toVarroa females. Their secretion by the larvae follows the same pattern of development as the pheromonal signal. The longer and greater kairomonal signal in drone larvae, compared to worker secretion, could explain the preference ofVarroa towards drone brood.

Key words

Apis mellifera brood pheromone brood recognition capping behavior fatty acid ethyl ester fatty acid methyl ester kairomone Varroa jacobsoni 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome Trouiller
    • 1
  • Gerard Arnold
    • 1
  • Bertrand Chappe
    • 2
  • Yves Le Conte
    • 3
  • Claudine Masson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Comparée des InvertébrésINRA-CNRSBures-sur-YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Chimie des Sciences NaturellesCNRSGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  3. 3.Station de Recherche de Zoologie et d'ApidologieINRAMontfavetFrance

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