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Hydrocarbons Emitted by Waggle-Dancing Honey Bees Increase Forager Recruitment by Stimulating Dancing
Hydrocarbons emitted by waggle-dancing honey bees are known to reactivate experienced foragers to visit known food sources. This study investigates whether these hydrocarbons also increase waggle-dance recruitment by observing recruitment and dancing behavior when the dance compounds are introduced into the hive. If the hydrocarbons emitted by waggle-dancing bees affect the recruitment of foragers to a food source, then the number of recruits arriving at a food source should be greater after introduction of dance compounds versus a pure-solvent control. This prediction was supported by the results of experiments in which recruits were captured at a feeder following introduction of dance-compounds into a hive. This study also tested two nonexclusive behavioral mechanism(s) by which the compounds might stimulate recruitment; 1) increased recruitment could occur by means of increasing the recruitment effectiveness of each dance and/or 2) increased recruitment could occur by increasing the intensity of waggle-dancing. These hypotheses were tested by examining video records of the dancing and recruitment behavior of individually marked bees following dance-compound introduction. Comparisons of numbers of dance followers and numbers of recruits per dance and waggle run showed no significant differences between dance-compound and solvent-control introduction, thus providing no support for the first hypothesis. Comparison of the number of waggle-dance bouts and the number of waggle runs revealed significantly more dancing during morning dance-compound introduction than morning solvent-control introduction, supporting the second hypothesis. These results suggest that the waggle-dance hydrocarbons play an important role in honey bee foraging recruitment by stimulating foragers to perform waggle dances following periods of inactivity.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0105671
 
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