Friday, February 20, 2015

How Queen Bees Suppress the Rest

(Feb. 18, 2015) - Researchers have identified the compounds present in queen manibular pheromone (QMP) that suppress ovary activation in ordinary worker bees. Their results, published in the Journal of Insect Physiology, could be used to help beekeepers control hive fertility. QMP is a group of (at least) five active compounds produced by queen honey bees.

Although the pheromone is known to aid queen control of the colony and colony cohesion, the effects of individual QMP components have never been tested to determine their effects on the reproductive physiology of Apis cerana workers. Prof. Tan Ken of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues conducted a study to provide groups of queenless A. cerana workers with individual QMP components in their food and determine which of the components are capable of suppressing ovary activation.

The researchers fed one queen equivalent of each of the major components of A. cerana QMP to groups of worker bees twice a day until the workers were ten days old. Half of the cages were also provided with ten percent royal jelly in the food…

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