Laying Worker Honey Bee: Similarities to the Queen


IT is known that in the honey bee community the queen has an influence on the behaviour and the physiology of worker bees1–3. It has been shown that the presence of a queen in a group of worker bees inhibits the development of the ovaries in the workers3. The workers, showing a special behaviour (retinue behaviour) towards their queen, recognize her by special substances. This recognition leads to a ‘queenright behaviour’, which in turn influences the development of the ovaries. When we take the queen away from such a group, ovarial development in the workers starts, and may result in the so-called laying workers. It seemed to be an interesting point that only a few bees out of a group reached this final stage and it was supposed4 that perhaps these bees in turn would have an influence on the other bees.


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VELTHUIS, H., VERHEIJEN, F. & GOTTENBOS, A. Laying Worker Honey Bee: Similarities to the Queen. Nature 207, 1314 (1965).

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