Do honey bees know when they're out of storage space?

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:00 AM
D137-138 (Oregon Convention Center)
Parry Kietzman , Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA
Numerous activities within honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies rely on feedback loops for organization at the group level. Many of the processes associated with the feedback loops organizing a honey bee colony’s activities are in striking parallel to other systems, such as intercellular interactions involved in motor neuron function. This study looked at the communication signals honey bees employ while provisioning their nests to assess whether or not the bees are able to determine that their hive has no more available storage space. In this experiment, the storage space was alternated each day between no space and ample space. The communication signals used by the bees were counted during each treatment and compared. When the hive was full, significantly more stop signals, which inhibit foraging, and tremble dances, which recruit more bees to unload incoming foragers, were observed. This suggests that the bees had noted the absence of storage space and were modifying their communication accordingly.
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