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). https://doi.org/10.1038/2071314a0
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