Stingless bees use terpenes as olfactory cues to find resin sources

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Insects largely rely on olfactory cues when seeking and judging information on nests, partners, or resources. Bees are known to use volatile compounds—besides visual cues—to find flowers suitable for pollen and nectar collection. Tropical stingless bees additionally collect large amounts of plant resins for nest construction, nest maintenance, nest defense, and to derive chemical constituents for their cuticular profiles. We here demonstrate that stingless bees of Borneo also use olfactory cues to find tree resins. They rely on volatile mono- and sesquiterpenes to locate or recognize known resin sources. Moreover, by modifying resin extracts, we found that stingless bees do not use the entire resin bouquet but relative proportions of several terpenes. In doing so, the bees are able to learn specific tree resin profiles and distinguish between tree species and partly even tree individuals.
ZeitschriftChemical Senses
Seiten (von - bis)603-611
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 09.2010