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Smell That? It's Honey Bee Pheromones!

What are honey bee pheromones?

A pheromone is basically a chemical mixture that is released in this case by a honey bee, this then affects other honeybees nearby. A way honeybees communicate with one another; this is clearly a very effective way to pass on a message when you have thousands you need to communicate with. Pheromones used in this way represent one of the more advanced ways insects communicate with each other, a like a send to all button!

A swarm of honey bees fan pheromones to their hive mates.

Where do some of the pheromones come from?

The queen pheromone is produced by the queen's jaw also known as the mandibular glands.

Honey bee jaw

Other bee pheromones come from the Nasonov gland secretions, these are from a collection of cells located near the back of the honey bee, between the 6th and 7th abdomen segments.

Lighter yellow area identifies the nasonov gland

This scent is often associated with the lemongrass smell used by beekeepers to attract swarms. The Alarm pheromone is released from the area near the sting of a bee, this is called the Koschevnikov gland – sounds dangerous doesn’t it?

What are some common uses of Pheromones?

They help identify their hive mates. They can also Initiate Nursing and Foraging for nectar or pollen and crucially help locate the queen bee. Infact bees use pheromones in nearly every aspect of their life, so its clear these are crucial to the smooth running of a hive.

What are some of the common pheromones?

The Alarm Pheromone:

This is frequently noticed by people who disturb or in some way alarm honey bees. You may recognise a smell a lot like banana, this pheromone helps honey bees defend their hive from intruders and protect their hive.

The Queen Pheromone:

The level of queen pheromone within a hive can tell worker bees if a queen is present, absent or perhaps beginning to fail. It plays many roles including swarming, mating, helping the worker bees know everything is ok, also known as being queen right.

The Nasonov Pheromone:

This is the pheromone use to attract worker bees to the entrance of the hive. You can often see swarming bees with their abdomens in the air fanning this pheromone into the air to help guide in others. New beekeepers sometime us an attractant to lure swarming bees to swarm traps. You can find ours here, handily it also can be used as wood polish!

Bee fans the nasonov gland to guide in other bees

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Khalid Impex
Khalid Impex
Feb 14, 2022