Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Alarm pheromone perception in honey bees is decreased by smoke (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

  • P. Kirk Visscher
  • Richard S. Vetter
  • Gene E. Robinson


The application of smoke to honey bee(Apis mellifera) antennae reduced the subsequent electroantennograph response of the antennae to honey bee alarm pheromones, isopentyl acetate, and 2-heptanone. This effect was reversible, and the responsiveness of antennae gradually returned to that of controls within 10–20 min. A similar effect occurred with a floral odor, phenylacetaldehyde, suggesting that smoke interferes with olfaction generally, rather than specifically with honey bee alarm pheromones. A reduction in peripheral sensitivity appears to be one component of the mechanism by which smoke reduces nest defense behavior of honey bees.

Key words

honey bee Apis mellifera alarm pheromone electroantennograph 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Kirk Visscher
    • 1
  • Richard S. Vetter
    • 1
  • Gene E. Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiverside
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana

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