Stay cool: Exploring proximate social cues in a group-performed thermoregulatory behavior in honeybees

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:36 AM
Portland Ballroom 253 (Oregon Convention Center)
Chelsea N. Cook , Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Eusocial insect societies are ecologically successful because of their ability to perform tasks efficiently. While many jobs in these societies can be performed by individuals working independently, some tasks require coordination to accomplish. But how does this coordination occur? Using honey bee societies, I explore how workers coordinate to cool their hives during hot temperatures by fanning.  This behavior is important because if temperatures rise above 36C, the larvae developing inside can die. My past results indicate that being a part of a group is critical to the performance of this behavior. Here, I present what cues honey bees are receiving from other bees to know when to fan, both in a laboratory and in a natural setting. Exploring these proximate cues provide a more full understanding of the division of labor, while allowing us to explore the complexity and organization of group behaviors.