The volatile emission of honeybee queens (Apis mellifera L)R.F.A. Moritza and R.M. Creweb
a Bayerische Landesanstalt für Bienenzucht, Burgbergstraße 70, 8520 Erlangen, Germany
b University of the Witwatersrand, Department of Zoology, Jan Smuts Ave 1, Johannesburg 2001, Republic of South Africa
Abstract - The volatile compounds released by honeybee queens (Apis mellifera L) were trapped from the vapour phase with an absorbent (Tenax TA) and extracted in hexane. Heads and tergites of these queens were extracted in dichloromethane. After gas chromatography, the chromatograms were statistically analyzed and compared. Seventy-three percent of the compounds in head extracts and 56% of tergal compounds were found in the trapped volatile signal. There were, however, substantial quantitative differences between the actual amounts of individual compounds found in the trap and in head and tergite extracts respectively. For example, little (E)-9-oxodec-2-enoic acid (9-ODA), the classical queen substance and predominant compound of head extracts, was found in the vapour phase. Tergal signals and mandibular gland secretions contributed equally to the total pheromone blend in the volatile signal. Furthermore, compounds not present in either the tergal or head extracts were found.
Key words: Apis mellifera / queen substance / volatile semiochemical / mandibular gland / tergal gland