Nonstinging aggressive responses of worker honey bees apis mellifera to hive mates intruder bees and bees affected with chronic bee paralysis
Drum, N.H.; Rothenbuhler, W.C.
Journal of Apicultural Research 22(4): 256-260
Responses of groups of worker honeybees (A. mellifera) to bees afflicted with chronic bee paralysis, intruder bees and hivemates were compared. A test bee was introduced into a wooden cage containing 30 workers. The responses of the caged workers to the test bee were monitored for 3 min. This procedure was repeated on 5 afternoons with newly populated cages and 10 fresh test bees of each type for a total of 50 bees with paralysis, 50 intruders and 50 hivemates. Laboratory temperature was maintained at about 24.4.degree. C. The type of response was the same for each class of test bee: antennal investigation followed by attacks which consisted of mild nudging, nibbling and pulling of body hair, and seizing an appendage and pulling. When an attacked bee attempted to escape, attacks appeared to become more severe. Bees with paralysis received a significantly greater response from caged bees than either hivemates on intruders on the basis of number of investigations, seconds until attack, number of attacks, seconds under attack and maximum number of simultaneous attackers. O ther investigators have proposed that the honeybee may possess a single pattern of non-stinging aggressive behavior which is elicited by several different stimuli. This study supports their proposal.