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

Abstract

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.

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Visscher, P.K., Vetter, R.S. & Robinson, G.E. Alarm pheromone perception in honey bees is decreased by smoke (Hymenoptera: Apidae). J Insect Behav 8, 11–18 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01990966

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Key words

  • honey bee
  • Apis mellifera
  • alarm pheromone
  • electroantennograph