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Shaking of Honeybee Queens prior to Flight


RECENTLY Hammann1 has published a description of the way in which worker honeybees push, pull and shake their unmated queen before she leaves the hive on her mating flights. After each of these flights the ‘attacks’ subside somewhat, but they increase in frequency once again before the next flight, only ceasing finally when the queen commences egg-laying. Hammann lists several types of movement which the workers make around the unmated queen, and of these she found that shaking was by far the most frequent. This movement has been described previously2,3 (although no evidence as to its function has been put forward), and consists basically of a rapid vertical vibration of the worker's body lasting 1–2 sec. while its legs grasp either the queen or another worker.

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  1. 1

    Hammann, Eleonore, Insectes sociaux, 4, 91 (1957).

  2. 2

    Taranov, G. F., and Ivanova, L. V., Pchelovodstvo, 2, 3, 35 (1946). Istomina-Tzvetkova, K. P., ibid., 9, 15 (1953). Schick, W., Z. vergl. Physiol., 35, 105 (1953).

  3. 3

    Allen, M. Delia, Brit. J. Anim. Behav., 4, 14 (1956).

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