Free Access
Volume 29, Number 1-2, 1998
Colony integration
Page(s) 47 - 66
Apidologie 29 (1998) 47-66
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19980103

Reciprocal interactions between honeybees and combs in the integration of some colony functions in Apis mellifera L.

H.R. Hepburn

Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Abstract - Recent advances in studies of the reciprocal interactions between honeybees and their combs are reviewed. Wax secretion is age-related, varies with season, is unaffected by the queen, juvenile hormone or the corpora allata but is enhanced in swarming. Comb building is enhanced by the queen. Nest structure can be explained as a self-organization process as can the patterns of brood, honey and pollen. The comb and its contents provide gross information to the colony as to crowding and space which affect brood rearing, energy consumption and comb building. Significant chemical and physical changes occur in the wax during comb building and during its subsequent use. Comb mediates pheromonal cues for cell capping, repairs and queen cell construction, nectar forage, colony defense and colony odor. Mechanically, the combs transmit vibrational signals in the waggle dance and recruitment of new foragers. © Inra/ DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris

Key words: honeybee / combs / pheromones / sound / self-organization