Honeybees

Topics: Overfishing, Beekeeping, Worker bee Pages: 10 (3454 words) Published: August 27, 2013
1. Honey bees have been shown to have a wide range of cognitive skills. They are sensitive to odors (including pheromones), tastes, and colors, including ultraviolet. They learn such things as color discriminations through classical and operant conditioning and retain this information for several days at least; they communicate the location and nature of sources of food; they adjust their foraging to the times at which food is available; they may even form cognitive maps of their surroundings. Communication

Foragers communicate their floral findings in order to recruit other worker bees of the hive to forage in the same area. The factors that determine recruiting success are not completely known but probably include evaluations of the quality of nectar and/or pollen brought in. There are two main hypotheses to explain how foragers recruit other workers — the "waggle dance" or "dance language" theory and the "odor plume" theory. The dance language theory is far more widely accepted, and has far more empirical support. The theories also differ in that the former allows for an important role of odor in recruitment (i.e., effective recruitment relies on dance plus odor), while the latter claims that the dance is essentially irrelevant (recruitment relies on odor alone).

How Honey Bees Communicate
Honey bees make use of five senses throughout their daily lives; however, honey bees have additional communication aids at their disposal. Two of the methods by which honey bees communicate are of particular interest. One is chemical, the other choreographic. Honey bee pheromones

Pheromones are chemical scents that animals produce to trigger behavioral responses from the other members of the same species. Honey-bee pheromones provide the “glue” that holds the colony together. The three castes of bees produce various pheromones at various times to stimulate specific behaviors. Here are just a few basic facts about the ways pheromones help bees communicate: Certain queen pheromones (known as queen substance) let the entire colony know that the queen is in residence and stimulate many worker bee activities. Outside of the hive, the queen pheromones act as a sex attractant to potential suitors (male drone bees). They also regulate the drone (male bee) population in the hive. Queen pheromones stimulate many worker bee activities, such as comb building, brood rearing, foraging, and food storage. The worker bees at the hive’s entrance produce pheromones that help guide foraging bees back to their hive. The Nassanoff gland at the tip of the worker bee’s abdomen is responsible for this alluring scent. Worker bees produce alarm pheromones that can trigger sudden and decisive aggression from the colony. The colony’s brood (developing bee larvae and pupae) secretes special pheromones that help worker bees recognize the brood’s gender, stage of development, and feeding needs Movement (Dance Language):

Honey bee workers perform a series of movements, often referred to as the "waggle dance," to teach other workers the location of food sources more than 150 meters from the hive. Scout bees fly from the colony in search of pollen and nectar. If successful in finding good supplies of food, the scouts return to the hive and "dances" on the honeycomb. The honey bee first walks straight ahead, vigorously shaking its abdomen and producing a buzzing sound with the beat of its wings. The distance and speed of this movement communicates the distance of the foraging site to the others. Communicating direction becomes more complex, as the dancing bee aligns her body in the direction of the food, relative to the sun. The entire dance pattern is a figure-eight, with the bee repeating the straight portion of the movement each time it circles to the center again. Honey bees also use two variations of the waggle dance to direct others to food sources closer to home. The round dance, a series of narrow circular movements, alerts colony members to the presence...
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