Effect of the queen on worker reproduction and new queen production in the bumble bee Bombus terrestris

Carlos Lopez-Vaamonde, Ruth M. Brown, Eric R. Lucas, Jeffrey J. M. Pereboom, William C. Jordan, Andrew F. G. Bourke

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We tested the hypotheses that a non-volatile pheromone inhibiting worker egg-laying and queen development produced by Bombus terrestris queens has effects transferable (a) from workers to other workers or larvae, or (b) on wax. We subdivided small, young colonies with a single mesh screen (Experiment 1) and larger, older colonies with a double mesh screen (Experiment 2). One treatment (in both experiments) involved the transfer of workers, and one treatment (in Experiment 2 only) involved the transfer of wax, from the queenright to the queenless compartments. Queenlessness induced significantly earlier onset of worker aggression (followed by egg-laying) in all treatments in both experiments, and significantly earlier queen production in all treatments in Experiment 2 (small colony sizes probably hindered queen production in Experiment 1). These findings suggested that the effects of B. terrestris queen pheromone are not transferable via workers or wax.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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