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Pheromone Behavioural bioassays

A likely source of the queen’s trail pheromone are the tarsal glands which are located on the fifth tarsomere of each of her legs (Lensky and Slabezki, 1981). Each gland consists of a unicellular layer which surrounds and secretes into a sac-like cavity. The rate of secretion of these glands of a queen is thirteen times greater than those of workers. As the queen walks over the comb her foot pads deposit the clear oily secretion onto the comb surface.
Pheromone Behavioural bioassays
Various pheromone bioassays have been developed to determine the pheromones responsible for the attractiveness of queens to their workers, and for court formation within the hive. None is entirely satisfactory. Learn about pheromones for men at
A live queen may continuously produce and emit some of her pheromone components; this is difficult to duplicate in a bioassay, especially when the material concerned is in very small quantities and is highly volatile. Furthermore, it must always be borne in mind that different bioassays may be sensitive to different behavioural responses. Nevertheless, much useful and interesting, if only suggestive, information has been obtained.
One test, initiated by Gary (l96la) and developed by Butler and Simpson (1965), compares the attractiveness of cages containing different natural or synthetic pheromone components. Small cages containing different test materials are arranged on the top of the combs of a colony and the number of bees clustering on each cage is recorded after a few minutes. Either a queenless or queenright colony can be used, and the cages can be placed over combs containing brood or stores. The hive roof is supported well above the cages so they are in a dark chamber free from extraneous air currents.
Results from this bioassay reflect the ability of the test materials to attract bees to their immediate vicinity. Usually the cages are double-walled so the workers cannot touch the contents; when this is so the test does not necessarily reflect the ability of the test material to retain bees that could make contact with it, or to release antennal Contact and licking. Simpson (1979) tried to overcome this difficulty by substituting the cages with small discs of blotting paper, treated with the material under test and arranged in a randomized Latin Square. Up to eight materials can be compared simultaneously. The bees can actually touch the discs and test materials and at intervals counts are made of bees whose heads are orientated toward them. Learn more about pheromones at
Bioassays that depend on worker bees being attracted from some distance toward the queen do not necessarily reflect behaviour in the colony where little or no long-distance movement toward the queen usually occurs. Neither do they seem to represent court formation, as the bees comprising a court.
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