, Volume 90, Issue 10, pp 477–480 | Cite as

The effect of queen pheromones on worker honey bee ovary development

  • Shelley E.R. HooverEmail author
  • Christopher I. Keeling
  • Mark L. Winston
  • Keith N. Slessor
Short Communication


We report results that address a long-standing controversy in honey bee biology, the identity of the queen-produced compounds that inhibit worker honey bee ovary development. As the honey bee is the only organism for which identities have been proposed for any pheromone that regulates reproduction, the resolution of its identity is of broad significance. We examined the effects of synthetic honey bee queen mandibular pheromone (QMP), four newly identified queen retinue pheromone components, and whole-queen extracts on the ovary development of caged worker bees. The newly identified compounds did not inhibit worker ovary development alone, nor did they improve the efficacy of QMP when applied in combination. QMP was as effective as queen extracts at ovary regulation. Caged workers in the QMP and queen extract treatments had better developed ovaries than did workers remaining in queenright colonies. We conclude that QMP is responsible for the ovary-regulating pheromonal capability of queens from European-derived Apis mellifera subspecies.


Ovary Development Royal Jelly Queen Pheromone Queen Mandibular Gland Pheromone Queenright Coloni 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful for the contributions of Phero-Tech, Geoffrey Morris, Heather Higo and other members of the Simon Fraser University Swarm team, and comments on the manuscript by Larry Dill and Bernie Crespi. This research was funded by grants from NSERC to M.L.W. and K.N.S., a Killam Fellowship to M.L.W., and NSERC fellowships to S.E.R.H. and G. Morris. This research was conducted in accordance with the current laws of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelley E.R. Hoover
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher I. Keeling
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mark L. Winston
    • 1
  • Keith N. Slessor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA

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