Age matters: Young larvae boost pollination activity in bees

In a paper published in the journal Animal Behaviour, ASU alumnus Kirsten Traynor, a research associate with the University of Maryland, Robert E. Page, Jr., ASU university provost and professor in the School of Life Sciences, and Yves Le Conte, a researcher with Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, show that adult bees foraging for food use the changing pheromone signals of the young to adjust what nutritional resources they collect.

Honey bees were found to return to the hive with one and one half times more protein-rich pollen when exposed to young larvae as compared to old larvae. The researchers also discovered that significantly fewer foragers return home empty – a finding that Traynor believes could have an impact in agricultural enterprises.

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