Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smells like bees’ spirit

15.08.2008
Bumblebees choose whether to search for food according to how stocked their nests are, say scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

When bumblebees return to the nest from a successful foraging mission, they produce a pheromone which encourages their nest mates to also go out and find food. Scientists had originally thought that these pheromones elicited a standard response from all bees.

But new research from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has shown that bees’ response to the pheromone changes according to their situation.

Dr Mathieu Molet and Dr Nigel Raine have shown that worker bees are much more likely to respond to the pheromone and leave the nest in search of food, if the colony has little or no food reserves left.

... more about:
»Molet »NEST »Pheromone »foraging

“Flying around all day to find nectar and pollen from flowers is hard work. So it makes sense that bees are more likely to respond to the pheromone when honey reserves are low,” said Dr Molet.

Writing in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, the Natural Environment Research Council funded team explain how they used radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology (the same electronic tagging system used in a London Underground oyster card) to automatically record the activity of bees in the lab.

Different colonies of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) were stocked with different levels of food reserves (honeypots). Artificial foraging pheromones were applied to the bees, and they were monitored over 16,000 ‘foraging bouts’. The response to the pheromones was stronger in colonies with less food - with more worker bees becoming active, and more foraging bouts being performed.

The team’s findings suggest that the pheromone can modulate a bumblebee’s foraging activity - preventing needless energy expenditure and exposure to risk when food stores are already high. In future, such artificial pheromones could also be used to increase the effectiveness of bumblebee colonies pollinating commercial crops, such as tomatoes.

M Molet, L Chittka, RJ Stelzer, S Streit and NE Raine ‘Colony nutritional status modulates worker responses to foraging recruitment pheromone in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris’ will be published online in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology on Wednesday 13 August 2008. doi:10.1007/s00265-008-0623-3.

*The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

A copy of the paper, high resolution images and video footage of the bees in action are all available on request.

Dr Mathieu Molet and Dr Nigel Raine are available for interview.

For further information, please contact:

Siân Halkyard
Senior Communications Officer
Queen Mary, University of London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 7454
email: s.halkyard@qmul.ac.uk

Sian Halkyard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.qmul.ac.uk

Further reports about: Molet NEST Pheromone foraging

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>