Honey bees larvae absorb social culture of hive

A honey bee flies near almond flowers, in full bloom at Badamwari in Srinagar.

WASHINGTON: Honey bees are tuned in to the social culture of the hive as larvae, becoming more or less aggressive depending on who raises them, researchers have found.

University of Illinois entomology professor and Carl R Woese institute for genomic biology director Gene Robinson, who led the research with postdoctoral researcher Clare Rittschof and Pennsylvania state university professor Christina Grozinger studied very young bees that were weeks away from adulthood.

“In a previous study, we cross-fostered adult bees from gentle colonies into more aggressive colonies and vice versa, and then we measured their brain gene expression,” said Robinson.

“We found that the bees had a complex pattern of gene expression, partly influenced by their own personal genetic identity and partly influenced by the environment of the colony they were living in,” Robinson said.

“This led us to wonder when they become so sensitive to their social environment,” Robinson said.


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