The physiology of the honey bees

Palpation and sense of smell

With the eyes the bee in the light of the external world gets along. It lives however most time in the darkness of the stick. There you are useful the eyes hardly somewhat, except that her it sees where the flugloch the way in the light offers. Everything else must create the antennas. By "smelling keys" it will have to differentiate eggs, youngest, older and cover-ripe larvae, pollen, unreifen and matures honey, wax and cement resin, worker -, drone and queen cells, the distances between honeycombs and booty, zugige places, which must to be sealed have, wax moths and other enemies, waste, be out-created and who knows which otherwise still everything. For the whole "interior life" of the stick the antennas are the essential tool.

EM picture antenna Apis mellifera EM picture antenna Apis mellifera
EM picture antenna Apis mellifera EM picture antenna Apis mellifera

Fig. above on the left of head, above on the right of antenna basis, at the bottom left hand corner and on the right of antenna in different enlargement ( © R.F. Foelix)

In addition, for the field service in particular the smell plays a large role. Already when leaving the stick the bee carries forward the memory of a certain homeland smell. Each bee colony has its special stick smell. It is compound for the age of the queen from many smells by wood of different origin and different age, of the Propolis (cement resin), used of juengern and older honeycombs, the polling and honey supplies, from kind and quantity. The bee actually carries this stick smell and by it by a strange flugloch as an intruder is recognized. It carries it also in its memory and recognizes with the return their homeland to this smell again.
Outside in Weltder blooms is the ability of the bee to recognize smells for their collecting activity of large importance. It possesses therefore also for bloom smells and biologically important Grueche a particularly fine "feeler nose". It is less primarily the smell and the color, which leads it from bloom to bloom of the same plant type. That it can be bloom constant, i.e., not dandelion on osterglocken, of Arabis on Weichselblueten flies, it by their sense of smell is facilitated. If it leads the eye from the distance, then the smell in the proximity works. The bee can "smell" also water and it is able, CO² (Kohlendioxid)wahrzunehmen, which for their stay in the closed building of importance is.
There bloom smell and stick smell are, without the bee (intentional) does somewhat in addition. But the bee knows also consciously a smell, which Sterzelduft from their smell gland produce. Chemically it concerns a mixture out of several geruchsstoffen, like geraniol, Farnesol, CIT ral, Nerol, Geronsaeure, Nerolsaeure. In the proximity of the Sterzlerinnen one can notice a melissenartiges flavour clearly. The bees use the smell for attracting of kind comrades. That is e.g. important, if they found a rich Trachtquelle. It sterzeln other fodder place just like on the flight there. One can imagine that the smell routes collecting tank inside proper with active traffic to good food places train. The Sterzelduft might help to hold together by the swarm in air and the bees to the place call, where the queen established itself. Even if with Vorspieldie young bees go on a trip for the first time, soon the flight board is covered with a large number of LOCK bees, which show also out-inverted smell gland sterzelnd its kind comrade the way to the native flugloch. The same happens, if a young queen went on a trip to the Begattung and one back-expects.
The smell of the smell gland is not different however from people to people like the stick smell. Thus collecting tank inside also the stick stranger bees lure to the fodder place and on the conditions can intensive Sterzeln of the bees on the flight board also stick stranger young bees or even a gone on a trip young queen attract. The strange young bees find admission behaviourless on this occasion. But the queen usually costs it the life.
Other odoriferous substances play a role during the stick defense. Thus the guards at the stick entrance call other nest comrades when substantial threat by foreign intruders on the plan, by spreading their Vorderkieferdruesen and fluegelschwirrend up strain the abdomen with opened prick chamber ("Giftsterzeln"). Dismiss it from the Mandibeldruese a deterrence and an alarm substance with sharp smell, which one identified as Heptanon-2 and from the glands in to prick gutter and scheidenbereich a Alarmstoffm from which one already approximately a dozen of components isolated. Isopentylacetat is completely predominantly represented, then oh follows with distance 1-Octanol, 2-Methylbutanol and other components. One can notice a banana-like smell in the proximity of the alarmed bees. The with or against each other these alarm materials signals to the bees depending upon given situation: "have eight!", "attack!" or "escape!". The bee poison has obviously no alarm effect.
Further smells the one role play, are e.g. those during the partner identification, during the wedding flight, as well as the queen smell with swarms, than stabilizing factor.