Trophallaxis in Apis mellifera effects of sugar concentration and crop load on food distribution
Walter M Farina; Josué A Núňez
Trophallaxis in groups of 7 honey bee foragers (Apis mellifera) was studied in the laboratory in an experimental arena. In each group, a donor bee was fed with sucrose solution while the 6 recipient bees remained unfed. In one experiment, donor bees were fed to satiation with either 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50% (wtlwt) sucrose solution. In a second experiment, donors were fed 20 or 40 1-11, or until satiation, with 50% sucrose solution. There were significantly more trophallactic-giving contacts (TG) between donors fed 30% sucrose and their recipients than between donors fed 20% sucrose and their recipients, but no further increase was observed for higher concentrations. Increasing the volume fed to the donor bees, while keeping the concentration constant, led to an increase in TG. Analysis of the results from 61 assays involving 427 bees, shows that donor bees modify their trophallactic behaviour according to the sucrose concentration as well as the volume carried in their honey sacs. The role of food distribution in disseminating information about the profitability of nectar sources is discussed.