Effect of Brood Pheromone on Survival and Nutrient Intake of African Honey Bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) under Controlled Conditions
The influence of pheromones on insect physiology and behavior has been thoroughly reported for numerous aspects, such as attraction, gland development, aggregation, mate and kin recognition. Brood pheromone (BP) is released by honey bee larvae to indicate their protein requirements to the colony. Although BP is known to modulate pollen and protein consumption, which in turn can affect physiological and morphological parameters, such as hypopharyngeal gland (HPG) development and ovarian activation, few studies have focused on the effect of BP on nutritional balance. In this study, we exposed newly emerged worker bees for 14 d and found that BP exposure increased protein intake during the first few days, with a peak in consumption at day four following exposure. BP exposure decreased survival of caged honey bees, but did not affect either the size of the HPG acini or ovarian activation stage. The uncoupling of the BP releaser effect, facilitated by working under controlled conditions, and the presence of larvae as stimulating cues are discussed.
KeywordsSemiochemical Primer and releaser effects Survival Nutrient intake Hypopharyngeal glands Savannah honey bee
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