Nectar distribution and its relation to food quality in honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies

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State: Public
Version: author
Serval ID
serval:BIB_467BC62C1D83
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Nectar distribution and its relation to food quality in honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies
Journal
Insectes Sociaux
Author(s)
Grüter C., Farina W.M.
ISSN
1420-9098 (Electronic)
ISSN-L
0020-1812 (Print)
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2007
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
54
Number
1
Pages
87-94
Language
english
Abstract
In honeybees (Apis niellifera), the process of nectar collection is considered a straightforward example of task partitioning with two subtasks or two intersecting cycles of activity: (1) foraging and (2) storing of nectar, linked via its transfer between foragers and food processors. Many observations suggest, however, that nectar colleclion and processing in honeybees is a complex process, involving workers of other sub-castes and depending on variables such as resource profitability or the amount of stored honey. It has been observed that food processor bees often distribute food to other hive bees after receiving it from incoming foragers, instead of storing it immediately in honey cells. While there is little information about the sub-caste affiliation and the behaviour of these second-order receivers, this stage may be important for the rapid distribution of nutrients and related information. To investigate the identity of these second-order receivers, we quantified behaviours following nectar transfer and compared these behaviours with the behaviour of average worker hive-bees. Furthermore, we tested whether food quality (sugar concentration) affects the behaviour of the second-order receivers. Of all identified second-order receivers, 59.3% performed nurse duties, 18.5% performed food-processor duties and 22.2% performed forager duties. After food intake, these bees were more active, had more trophallaxes (especially offering contacts) compared to average workers and they were found mainly in the brood area, independent of food quality. Our results show that the liquid food can be distributed rapidly among many bees of the three main worker sub-castes, without being stored in honey cells first. Furthermore, the results suggest that the rapid distribution of food partly depends on the high activity of second-order receivers.
Keywords
Apis mellifera, nectar collection, trophallaxis, task partitioning
Web of science
Create date
21/02/2014 10:46
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:51
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