Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 169–178 | Cite as

The Significance of Odor Cues and Dance Language Information for the Food Search Behavior of Honeybees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
  • Andreas Grasser
Article

Abstract

Although several independent lines of evidence show that bees can make use of information provided by their dance language, there is an ongoing controversy about the significance of the dance information versus odor cues in the search behavior of recruited bees. A series of experiments was performed to assess the relative significance of dance information and odors for the site-specific search of recruit bees. In these experiments recruit bees were trapped automatically at arrays of artificial flowers at various distances from the hive. The distribution of directions in which the recruits searched for food was compared between recruitment by dancers performing well-oriented dances on the vertical side of the comb and dancers performing disoriented dances on a horizontal comb. The results show quantitatively that bees use both odor cues and the dance information. The greater the distance to the feeding site, the greater is the relative significance of the dance information.

communication dance language recruitment olfaction Apis mellifera 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Batschelet, E. (1981). Circular Statistics in Biology, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Dyer, F. C., and Gould, J. L. (1981). Honey bee orientation: A backup system for cloudy days. Science 214: 1041–1042.Google Scholar
  3. Gould, J. L. (1976). The dance language controversy. Q. Rev. Biol. 51: 211–244.Google Scholar
  4. Gould, J. L., and Gould, C. G. (1988). The Honey Bee, Scientific American Library, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Kirchner, W. H., and Towne, W. F. (1994). The sensory basis of the honeybee's dance language. Sci. Am. 270(6): 74–80.Google Scholar
  6. Kirchner, W. H., Lindauer, M., and Michelsen, A. (1988). Honeybee dance communication: Acoustical indication of direction in round dances. Naturwissenschaften 75: 629–630.Google Scholar
  7. Michelsen, A., Andersen, B. B., Kirchner, W. H., and Lindauer, M. (1989). Honeybees can be recruited by a mechanical model of a dancing bee. Naturwissenschaften 76: 277–280.Google Scholar
  8. Michelsen, A., Andersen, B. B., Storm, J., Kirchner, W. H., and Lindauer, M. (1992). How honeybees perceive communication dances, studied by means of a mechanical model. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 30: 143–150.Google Scholar
  9. Seeley, T. D. (1985). Honeybee Ecology, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  10. Towne, W. F., and Gould, J. L. (1988). The spatial precision of the honey bees dance communication. J. Insect Behav. 1: 129–155.Google Scholar
  11. Visscher, P. K., and Seeley, T. D. (1982). Foraging strategy of honeybee colonies in a temperate deciduous forest. Ecology 63: 1790–1801.Google Scholar
  12. von Frisch, K. (1967). The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  13. Waddington, K. D., Visscher, P. K., Herbert, T. J., and Raveret Richter, M. (1994). Comparisons of forager distributions from matched honey bee colonies in suburban environments. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 35: 423–429.Google Scholar
  14. Waddington, K. D., Esch, H., and Burns, J. E. (1996). The effects of season, pretraining, and scent on the efficiency of traps for capturing recruited honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). J. Insect Behav. 9: 451–459.Google Scholar
  15. Wenner, A. M., and Johnson, D. L. (1967). Honeybees: Do they use direction and distance information provided by their dancers? Science 158: 1076–1077.Google Scholar
  16. Wenner, A. M., and Wells, P. H. (1990). Anatomy of a Controversy. The Question of a “Language” Among Bees, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Wenner, A. M., Wells, P. H., and Johnson, D. L. (1969). Honey bee recruitment to food resources: Olfaction or language? Science 164: 84–86.Google Scholar
  18. Wenner, A. M., Meade, D. E., and Friesen, L. J. (1991). Recruitment, search behavior and flight ranges in honeybees. Am. Zool. 31: 768–782.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
    • 1
  • Andreas Grasser
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität Konstanz, Fakultät für BiologieKonstanzGermany

Personalised recommendations