Letter | Published:

Mandibular Gland Pheromone of Worker Honeybees

Nature volume 212, page 530 (29 October 1966) | Download Citation



THE mandibular gland secretion of the worker honeybee, Apis mellifera L., contains 10-hydroxy-Δ2-decenoic acid1 and, at least in older workers (foragers), 2-heptanone2. Maschwitz3 reported that the secretion of this gland evoked an aggressive reaction from bees at the entrance of their hive, and Shearer and Boch2 obtained a similar reaction with 2-heptanone. Simpson4 found that the mandibular gland secretion, which has a strong but fugitive smell, repels foraging honeybees when added to a dish of sucrose syrup. I have shown that 10-hydroxy-decenoic acid does not repel foraging honeybees but that 2-heptanone does.

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  1. 1.

    , , and , Experientia, 15, 421 (1959).

  2. 2.

    , and , Nature, 206, 530 (1965).

  3. 3.

    , Z. Vergl. Physiol., 47, 596 (1964).

  4. 4.

    , Nature, 209, 531 (1966).

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  1. Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

    • C. G. BUTLER


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