Distance from the queen affects workers’ selfish behaviour in the honeybee (a. mellifera) colony

Margarita Orlova, Abraham Hefetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been postulated that spatial organization of the colony, in addition to biological and social factors, influences colony life in honeybees. In this study, we examine the influence of workers’ distance from the queen on their reproductive, pheromonal and behavioural characteristics. Our results demonstrate that with increasing distance from the queen, workers increasingly develop behavioural and reproductive traits characteristic of queenlessness, which are presumably the result of significant impairment in queen pheromone transmission. Having contemplated the alternative possibilities of inadequate transmission of queen signal and voluntary escape from queen control, we concluded, based on the behavioural and physiological data, that the former is far more probable than the latter. The dose-dependent manner of the queen pheromone action and its differential influence on various worker characteristics are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1700
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Honeybee
  • Pheromone transmission
  • Queen signal
  • Spatialworker distribution
  • Worker reproduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Distance from the queen affects workers’ selfish behaviour in the honeybee (a. mellifera) colony'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this