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Introductory Apiculture – Journal Article Assignment November 1, 2012 Jenn van Tol 1. Breed M.D., S. Perry, and L. B. Bjostad. 2004. Testing the blank slate hypothesis: why honeybee colonies accept young bees. Insectes Sociaux 51 (1): 12-16. 2. (a) This article has been cited 34 times. (b) cited references: 32.

for example.2 Guard bees have the task of excluding bees that are not part of their colony from entering the hive. To test these hypotheses. As controls. mature foraging bees were collected from various hives. as they could be attempting to rob honey or nectar. eggs. These compounds are picked up by bees from their nest environment (specifically the comb). The unwashed forager bees and those washed with distilled water were generally rejected by the guard bees. Third. They were quantified by an earlier part of this experiment. they will be accepted. there could be a chemical marker on the hive bees which would be taken up by the young bees as they emerge. as young bees may not have developed the distinguishing chemical markers of another hive. whether acceptance or rejection. Why are these bees not rejected? In this paper. Individual foragers were then paired with a guard bee from a different colony. hexadecanoic acid or brood pheromone. specifically free fatty acids. In fact. where a NaOH and dichloromethane mixture was used to wash mature and newly-emerged . and over time produce the same marker as their hive-mates. Second. However. and shaken with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). a common method of adding a queen to a queen-less colony is by adding her as a larvae within a queen cell. The NaOH wash was used to neutralize and remove chemicals on the bee’s surface. larvae and pupae or even newly emerged worker bees will not be rejected if introduced to the hive. First. and a third group of workers were not washed. Some were placed in vials. and their behaviour was observed. other workers were “washed” with distilled water. the researchers proposed and investigated three possible ways young bees avoid detection as outsiders. they might produce a pheromone and stimulate acceptance by other bees. whereas the NaOH-washed bees were generally accepted.

3 workers. and testing the response of other bees if they are removed. However. . research could be done to determine if a single chemical is responsible for the aggression between worker bees of different colonies. The END. I liked this paper because the researchers take an intuitive and yet very simple approach: isolating the chemicals on the surface. the other two are not completely eliminated – they may still contribute to acceptance. I appreciate that the researchers acknowledge this. in the experiment described prior. and by doing so invite others to continue investigating. and although the third hypothesis is strongly supported. in conclusion. This is supported by the discovery. For example. reaching beyond the world of the honeybee. and even with the interaction of parasite and host. It adds a context to the research done. to compare and contrast with similar processes in the relationships of other social insects. or if it results from the overall interaction and “differentness” of these chemicals. I also like how this article is expanded. the results are not as clear as they could be. and various surface markers were isolated and compared. than if the markers are present. and this probably contributes to the so-called “blank slate” allowing their acceptance. mammals and birds to unrelated young of their species. that the removal of surface chemicals from older worker bees allows them to be accepted much more easily by guard bees. Newly-emerged bees have much lower levels of all surface fatty acids and hydrocarbons.