Sugar concentration influences decision making in Apis mellifera L. workers during early-stage honey storage behaviour

Mark K. Greco, Johann Lang, Peter Gallmann, Nicholas Priest, Edward Feil, Karl Crailsheim

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Decision making in honeybees is based on in- formation which is acquired and processed in order to make choices between two or more al- ternatives. These choices lead to the expression of optimal behaviour strategies such as floral constancy. Optimal foraging strategies such as floral constancy improve a colony’s chances of survival, however to our knowledge, there has been no research on decision making based on optimal storage strategies. Here we show, using diagnostic radioentomology, that decision mak- ing in storer bees is influenced by nectar sugar concentrations and that, within 48 hours of col- lection, honeybees workers store carbohydrates in groups of cells with similar sugar concentra- tions in a nonrandom way. This behaviour, as evidenced by patchy spatial cell distributions, would help to hasten the ripening process by reducing the distance between cells of similar sugar concentrations. Thus, colonies which ex- hibit optimal storage strategies such as these would have an evolutionary advantage and im- prove colony survival expectations over less efficient colonies and it should be plausible to select colonies that exhibit these preferred traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
JournalOpen Journal of Animal Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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