Bee Stink

Honeybee researchers have discovered that the insects release a deadly odor that shortens the lifespan of their family members – usually their sisters.

Honeybee researchers have discovered that the insects release a deadly odor that shortens the lifespan of their family members – usually their sisters. "Previous research has shown that the presence of larvae in colonies reduces adult bees’ energy stores and shortens the honeybee lifespan. Scientists had also found that larvae release what is known as a "brood pheromone," which causes adults to consume more pollen to keep up with larval food demand. But little else was known about this rare chemical concoction found only in bees. When Amdam and colleagues fed synthetic pheromone-laced syrup to adult bees, they found something surprising: It depleted vital stores of a protein called vitellogenin from bees’ fat tissue and shortened their lives dramatically. The life expectancy of entire colonies dropped below 200 days, making it difficult for honeybees to last through winter."

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