Queen Bees Tell the Whole Hive About Their Sexual Flings

A team of entomologists from Penn State, North Carolina State and Tel Aviv universities examined chemical changes of pheromones from isolated aspects of the mating process, and from various mating outcomes, then tested how worker bees reacted to these chemicals. Results suggest that the composition of these pheromones changed, depending on the queen bee’s physiological state, but so did worker bee response.

"It looks like the queen is not only saying, ‘OK, I’m here,’ but she’s also telling the workers that she’s a mated queen, and that she’s either poorly or well mated—which is pretty important, because she uses the pheromones to regulate the social organization of the hive," said Penn State entomologist Elina L. Niño, lead author of the study.

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 14, 2013