Queen Bee Tells The Whole Hive About Their Sexual Flings

Los Angeles Times    By Geoffrey Mohan    11/14/13


Queen honeybees not only mate with lots of males, but they also brag about it to the whole hive.

A chemical signal from queen bee glands lets the female worker bees know that her mating dalliances were successful, and hint at just how fruitful they were, according to a study published Wednesday in the online journal PLOS One.

The honeybee, Apis mellifera, is equipped with one of the most complex chemical signaling systems in nature, with multiple pheromones controlling the social organization of the hive. They can encourage foraging, attract mates, keep new queens from being reared, and even change the population composition of the hive and alter the gene expression of worker bees.

But entomologists have wondered what kind of information those chemicals conveyed...

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