Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications

  title={Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications},
  author={Anna R. Dornhaus and Lars Chittka},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
Abstract. The return of a successful bumblebee forager stimulates nestmates to leave the nest and search for food. Here we investigate the mechanisms by which this happens. Successful Bombus terrestris foragers perform irregular runs in their nest, often lasting for several minutes. Run duration is at its maximum when food has just been discovered. Running likely serves to distribute a pheromone, since the information flow between "runners" and "recruits" can be disrupted by eliminating air… 
Bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) store both food and information in honeypots
It is shown here that bees in the nest continuously monitor honeypots and sample their contents, thus obtaining information on supply and demand of nectar, and that the readiness of bees to respond to recruitment signals or incoming nectar also depends on colony demand.
Chemical compounds of the foraging recruitment pheromone in bumblebees
The presence of two monoterpenes and one sesquiterpene (eucalyptol, ocimene and farnesol) in the nest airspace and in the tergal glands increases strongly during foraging, which suggests independent evolutionary roots of food recruitment in these two groups of bees.
Information flow and regulation of foraging activity in bumble bees (Bombus spp.)
Information exchange in the nest enables bumble bees to base their decision to forage on demand and the presence and profitability of food, and allows them to learn the scent of food sources at the nest, which may reduce their search time.
Foraging distance in Bombus terrestris L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
The spatial distribution and the quality of forage plots are found to be the major determinants for the bees foraging decision-making, explaining over 80% of the foraging frequency.
Chemical ecology of bumble bees.
The development of new and more sensitive analytical tools and improvements in sociogenetic methods significantly enhanced knowledge about chemical compounds that mediate the regulation of reproduction in the social phase of colony development, about the interactions between host bumble bees and their social parasites, about pheromones involved in mating behavior, as well as about the importance of signals, cues and context-dependent learning in foraging behavior.
Bumble bees alert to food with pheromone from tergal gland
It is shown that a hexane extract from tergites V–VII of bumble bee workers elicits higher activity, like a successful forager does, which suggests that bumble bees possess a pheromone-producing gland, similar to the Nasanov gland in honey bees.
Potential application of the bumblebee foraging recruitment pheromone for commercial greenhouse pollination
It is concluded that artificial recruitment pheromone can reliably boost bee traffic leaving previously inactive colonies and could improve foraging activity and pollination in greenhouse colonies.
Ambient Air Temperature Does Not Predict whether Small or Large Workers Forage in Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens)
No significant effect of ambient or nest temperature on the average size of bees flying to and foraging from a suspended feeder is found, and size variation could not be explained in terms of niche specialization for foragers at different temperatures.
Consistent pollen nutritional intake drives bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) colony growth and reproduction across different habitats
It is found that habitat did not influence the collected pollen nutritional quality, and “nutritional intake,” calculated as the colony‐level intake rate of nutrient quantities (protein, lipid, and sugar), was strongly related to colony growth and reproductive output.


Insect behaviour: Evolutionary origins of bee dances
New light is shed on the early evolutionary origins of the elaborate dance language of the honeybee by showing that bumble-bee communication uses a primitive, but surprisingly efficient, recruitment system.
Social Wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) Foraging Behavior
A forager’s ability to learn odors and landmarks, which direct its return to foraging sites, and to associate cues such as odor or leaf damage with resource availability provide the behavioral foundation for facultative specialization by individual foragers.
The food recruitment dance of the stingless bee, Melipona panamica
  • J. Nieh
  • Business
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • 1998
There is no careful description of within-nest recruitment behavior for this species or for any other stingless bee, so this paper is to provide a detailed description of the behaviors of recruiting M. panamica foragers within the nest.
Navigation without vision: bumblebee orientation in complete darkness
It was found that bumblebees laid odour marks, suggesting a magnetic compass, and this finding provides a controlled system for dissecting possible non–visual components of navigation used in daylight, and allows us to isolate navigation mechanisms used in naturally dark situations, such as in the nest.
Honeybee waggle dance: recruitment success depends on the dance floor
  • Tautz
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1996
The results presented here reveal that the nature of the floor on which the bees dance has a considerable influence on the recruitment of nestmates to a food source.
Why search time to find a food-storer bee accurately indicates the relative rates of nectar collecting and nectar processing in honey bee colonies
Abstract Abstract. When a honey bee laden with nectar returns to the hive, she acquires information about the balance between her colony's nectar collecting rate and its nectar processing capacity by
Multiple origins of advanced eusociality in bees inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences.
  • S. Cameron
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1993
Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence information from the mitochondrial genome of representative apid bees suggest that advanced eusocial behavior evolved twice independently within this assemblage.
Sound: An Element Common to Communication of Stingless Bees and to Dances of the Honey Bee
The social organization of communities of stingless bees is more primitive than that of honey bees, yet certain common features of communication behavior in these two groups lead to a new hypothesis of the evolution of dancing behavior of the honey bee.
Communication between the Workers of Stingless Bees
Todas as especies de Meliponini ate agora examinadas, dispoe de meios de intercomunicafao, por meio dos quais as abelhas sem ocupacao na colmeia podem ser alarmadas, isto e, levadas a sair e procurar um determinado lugar.