Division of labour in the honeybee colony: a review

publication date: Nov 30, 2011
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Bee World Vol.65 (3) 1984 pp. 109-116
Article Title

Division of labour in the honeybee colony: a review


Richard Nowogrodzki


The workers of a typical honeybee (Apis mellifera) society are daughters of the same mother, all produced in a single season. In external morphology they are virtually indistinguishable. Yet at anyone time they differ markedly in their activities in the colony. Division of labour among nestmates-sometimes termed polyethism-is characteristic of insect societies. In honeybee colonies, its most basic features were recognized by Butler in 1609: that the morphologically distinct queen specializes in egg laying, and that there is an age-based division of labour among the workers, younger adults performing activities within the nest while their older sisters forage for food and water outside.

Keywordshoneybee colony, labour
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