The behavior and social communication of honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica Poll.) under the influence of alcohol. "In this study, the effects of ethanol on honey bee social communication and behavior within the hive were studied to further investigate the usefulness of honey bees as an ethanol-abuse model. Control (1.5 M sucrose) and experimental (1.5 M sucrose, 2.5% w/v ethanol) solutions were directly administered to individual forager bees via proboscis contact with glass capillary tubes. The duration, frequency, and proportion of time spent performing social and nonsocial behaviors were the dependent variables of interest. No differences in the relative frequency or proportion of time spent performing the target behaviors were observed. However, ethanol consumption significantly decreased bouts of walking, resting, and the duration of trophallactic (i.e., food-exchange) encounters. The results of this study suggest that a low dose of ethanol is sufficient to disrupt both social and nonsocial behaviors in honey bees. In view of these results, future behavioral-genetic investigations of honey bee social behavior are encouraged."
Photo: flickr/Henrique Vicente
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