We examined whether the quality of resources returned by foraging honey bees may be communicated to non-foraging members of the colony. The quality (concentration) of incoming sucrose solutions modulated a neuro-sensory system in pre-foragers, the proboscis extension reflex (PER) response. In this experiment, six pairs of colonies in separate outdoor cages were given ad libitum access to sucrose solution feeders. A colony from each pair was switched from 20% to 50% sucrose concentrations while the other was maintained at 20% sucrose. The PER responses of young, pre-foraging bee were measured from both colonies of each pair and compared. Sucrose response thresholds were significantly lower in pre-foragers of colonies foraging on 20% sucrose compared to pre-foragers in colonies foraging on 50% sucrose. Although all colonies had honey stores, the concentration of sugar solution in pre-foraging bees' crops were significantly lower in bees from colonies foraging on 20% sucrose compared to colonies foraging on 50% sucrose.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera (honey bee)
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA