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Agricultural And Ecological Role Of The Honey Bee

2264 words - 10 pages

Honey bee foragers perform waggle dances to inform other foragers in the hive about the location, presence, and the odor of beneficial food sources and new hive sites. The aim of the study in review was to investigate how the characteristics of waggle dances for natural food sources and environmental factors affect dance follower behavior. Due to the assumption that food source profitability tends to decrease with increasing foraging distance, a hypothesis that the attractiveness of a dance, measured as the number of dance followers and their attendance, decreases with increasing distance to the projected food location was formed. In addition to the hypothesis, it was assumed that time of ...view middle of the document...

The life cycle of the western honey bee depends on its social class within the hive while the habitat of the western honey bee depends on if it is domesticated or wild (Simpson, 1961). Apis mellifera also has a strong impact on ecology through pollination (Levin, 1983). The western honey bee has many features that allow it to survive and thrive. It also has a major impact on its environment and human beings.
The western honey bee uses different methods of communication to correspond different information. There are two main hypotheses to explain how worker bees known as foragers recruit other workers. The hypotheses are known as the dance language theory and the odor plume theory. The theories differ in that the dance theory shows an important role of odor in recruitment and the odor theory claims that the dance is essentially irrelevant and that communication relies on odor alone (Murlis et al., 1992). Most scientific studies support the dance theory. The western honey bee workers communicate different types of information through dance (Waddington, 1982).
By dancing, information about the direction and distance to nectar and pollen, water sources, or new housing locations can be shared. Workers who have scouted out food dance the waggle dance or figure eight dance when the food is farther than 75 meters from the hive. The waggle dance has two components. A straight run is used to convey information about the direction of the food. The speed at which the dance is repeated indicates how far away the food is (Michelsen et al., 1986). Scout bees dance the round dance or circle dance when food is less than 75 meters from the hive. The round dance only has one component. Bees run one way in the circle, stops and then run the other way (Waddington, 1982). Honey bees can also use trophallaxis or the exchange of food to communicate a range of information. Trophallaxis is mainly used to communicate the need for water, the quality of food sources, temperature, and the condition of the queen (Korst et al., 1982). Primer pheromones are another form of communication used by the western honey bee to distribute labor efficiently. The division of labor has to adjust to the resources available. Labor division in a bee hive is very complex; the work can be viewed as inside work and outside work. Young bees work inside the hive while older bees work outside the hive as foragers. Older forager bees gather and carry a chemical called ethyl oleate in their stomachs. The foragers feed this primer pheromone to the worker keeping them in a nurse bee state and preventing them from maturing too early. Less of the pheromone is available when foragers begin to die off and nurse bees quickly mature to become foragers (Pankiw, 2004). Through the many types of communication, the western honey bee functions in a tight working social system.
During an experiment conducted at the University of Sussex, it was found that western honey bees associate cost and benefits while...

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