Responses Of Individual Honey Bees To Artificial Feeders Visited By Themselves And To Feeders Visited By Hivemates
Catherine S Williams; Guy M Poppy
In a world where flower nectar contents vary, bees can often increase foraging profits by selectively probing high reward flowers (e.g. Marden, 1984). Scent cues deposited on flowers by previous visitors may convey reliable information about likely rewards, and so aid a bee to select profitable flowers (e.g. Schmitt & Bertsch, 1990). Honey bees (Apis mellifera) trained to feed at artificial feeders preferentially land at feeders already visited by conspecifics rather than at clean feeders, apparently in response to relatively involatile ‘attractive' scent cues deposited by conspecifics (Ferguson & Free, 1979; Free & Williams, 1983). Further, bees appear to prefer feeders visited by hivemates to ones visited by non-hivemates (Kalmus & Ribbands, 1952). A honey bee is more likely to respond to a short-lived, volatile ‘repellent' scent mark deposited by itself than to repellent scent deposited by a hivemate (Giurfa, 1993). However, it is not known whether a bee responds differently to its own attractive scent than to attractive scent deposited by hivemates, because in previous studies, more than one bee fed at the rewarding feeder(s). The chemical nature and glandular origin of the attractive scent are also unknown (Free, 1987).