The functional organization of resin work in honeybee colonies View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2006-03-16

AUTHORS

Jun Nakamura, Thomas D. Seeley

ABSTRACT

Resin is an important building material in the nests of honeybees, but little is known about how it is handled within the nest and how its collection is controlled. We studied the functional organization of resin work to better understand how a colony adaptively controls its intake of resin. Two hypotheses have been proposed for how resin collectors stay informed of the need for additional resin: (1) the unloading difficulty hypothesis (resin need is sensed indirectly by the unloading delay) and (2) the caulking activity hypothesis (resin need is sensed directly while engaged in using resin). A falsifiable prediction of the latter hypothesis, but not of the former, is that resin collectors not only gather resin outside the hive but also regularly handle resin inside the hive (taking it from other bees and using it to caulk crevices). Consistent with this prediction are our findings that in the resin sector of a colony’s economy, unlike in the pollen, nectar, and water sectors, there is no strict division of labor between the collectors and the users of a material. Over the course of a day, bees seen collecting resin were also commonly seen using resin. Moreover, we found that the unloading locations of resin collectors are unlike those of water and nectar collectors, being deep inside the hive (at the sites of resin use) rather than at the hive entrance. This arrangement facilitates the engagement in resin use by resin collectors. We conclude that the caulking activity hypothesis is well-supported, but that the unloading difficulty hypothesis also remains viable, for we found that resin collectors experience variable delays in getting rid of their loads, from less than 15 min to more than an hour, consistent with this hypothesis. The stage is now set for experimental tests of these two hypotheses. Both may be correct, which if true will imply that social insect workers, despite their small brains, can acquire and integrate information from multiple sources to improve their knowledge of conditions within the colony. More... »

PAGES

339-349

References to SciGraph publications

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    URI

    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00265-006-0170-8

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-006-0170-8

    DIMENSIONS

    https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1010119115


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