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Pheromones in bees discussion

Let us discuss the importance of pheromones in bees. Further studies (Rinderer and Hagstad, 1984) demonstrated that an increased amount of empty comb resulted in an increase in the proportion of foragers collecting nectar at the expense of pheromone collection according to

This surprising result has important practical implications (Fig. 8.1). However, there is a possibility that giving colonies comb in excess of storage pheromones likely to be needed, could result in partially filled combs, or in only some of the combs in honey storage chambers being used.

The exact nature of the pheromone stimulus from empty comb is unknown. In hives bees only occasionally visit comb that is not currently being used for storage, no it is unlikely that a contact response only is involved.

Pheromone Introduction

The wax secreted by bees and used by them to build comb in which food is stored and brood is reared could perhaps by itself be regarded as a pheromone.

Furthermore, it is likely that pheromones incorporated into comb as it is built, or subsequently added to the cells may stimulate or regulate various activities of the colony. This is a subject that has been little explored. Learn more about pheromones at

The cells in the comb of a honeybee colony are hexagonal in cross-section and of two basic types. The larger cells (6.2—7.0 mm diameter) are used for the rearing of drone brood, and the smaller cells (5.3—6.3 mm diameter) for the rearing of worker brood (see Jay, 1963).

Workers are produced from fertilized eggs and drones from unfertilized ones with high pheromone concentraions. The same cell may be used Ill different times for food storage and brood rearing. The brood often occupies a semicircular area of a comb, the top two corners of the comb and bands of cells at the side edges being used for storing nectar and pollen. Queen cells are vertical, circular in internal cross-section, and taper slightly from the base toward the open end. Check out pheromones at

A queen cell is increased in size as the larva inside it grows and is destroyed when the queen has emerged. In contrast, soon after an adult bee emerges from the drone or worker cell in which it was reared, the cell is cleaned by older bees until its walls have a varnish-like coating before being re- used. The origin and purpose of any such material used to coat the cell walls is unknown and although the pheromone glands have been suggested as a source (Dreher, 1936) this seems unlikely (Callow et al. , 1959). Furthermore, so far there is no evidence that bees prepare cells for particular purposes such as egg laying or pollen storage. Indeed a cell’s function seems to be determined to a great extent by its position in relation to the natural configuration of trail pheromones and food stores in the hive (Free and Williams, 1974).