Bees taking pollen supplement

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E-β-ocimene is produced by newly hatched to three-day old larvae, whereas the previously identified brood ester pheromone, a contact pheromone effecting nurses, is produced primarily by old larvae – four and five days old. “So one compound gives an opposite message to the other,” said Le Conte. “Interesting, very interesting. The signal from the very young larvae is for bees to forage because they are in need of food. When they are older, they have their food, they’re good to go and they can release the foragers.”

The significance of these pheromones to Varroa is that they act as kairomones (substances produced by one species used to the benefit of another). In sum, the mites tune in to the bees’ communication system to guide their parasitism. Handy for Varroa, brood pheromone increases up to 20 times during capping, when mites need to sense that it is time to enter the cell.

Vive La Honey Bee!

Le Conte on varroa pheromones

E-β-ocimene is produced by newly hatched to three-day old larvae, whereas the previously identified brood ester pheromone, a contact pheromone effecting nurses, is produced primarily by old larvae – four and five days old. “So one compound gives an opposite message to the other,” said Le Conte. “Interesting, very interesting. The signal from the very young larvae is for bees to forage because they are in need of food. When they are older, they have their food, they’re good to go and they can release the foragers.”

The significance of these pheromones to Varroa is that they act as kairomones (substances produced by one species used to the benefit of another). In sum, the mites tune in to the bees’ communication system to guide their parasitism. Handy for Varroa, brood pheromone increases up to 20 times during capping, when mites need to sense that it is time to enter the cell.