Special Issue "Honey Bee Behavior"


A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans
Department of Biology and Animal Behavior Program, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
Website: http://www.bucknell.edu/x18001.xml
E-Mail: ecapaldi@bucknell.edu
Interests: honey bee behavior; learning; spatial memory; orientation; navigation; viral disease effects on behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Honey bees, Apis mellifera L., live in a structured insect society, headed by a female monarch with a highly organized, yet flexible work force. The colony can both aggressively defend itself and effectively harvest nearby natural resources for it's long term survival. Individual bees function not as automatons, but rather as problem solvers for the group. Across multiple levels of biological organization, the honey bee has fascinated both naturalists and philosophers, psychologists and biologists; from genes to physiology to behavior to ecology, honey bees serve as a model organism. In this Special Issues of the journal Insects, we unite scholars using multiple perspectives to understand the honey bee and its contributions to modern science.

Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Published Papers (7 papers)

Insects 2014, 5(3), 513-527; doi:10.3390/insects5030513
Received: 17 December 2013; in revised form: 16 April 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
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Insects 2014, 5(1), 243-269; doi:10.3390/insects5010243
Received: 30 October 2013; in revised form: 17 January 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2014 / Published: 14 February 2014
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Insects 2014, 5(1), 167-198; doi:10.3390/insects5010167
Received: 14 October 2013; in revised form: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
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Insects 2014, 5(1), 120-138; doi:10.3390/insects5010120
Received: 1 November 2013; in revised form: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Insects 2014, 5(1), 92-104; doi:10.3390/insects5010092
Received: 31 October 2013; in revised form: 21 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
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Insects 2013, 4(4), 646-662; doi:10.3390/insects4040646
Received: 1 July 2013; in revised form: 2 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 6 November 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (397 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Insects 2013, 4(4), 542-557; doi:10.3390/insects4040542
Received: 2 July 2013; in revised form: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Color Salience and Long Term Memory in Free Flying Honeybees: Forget the Hard Problem
Author: Adrian G Dyer
Affiliations: 1 Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3800, Australia
2 School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia; E-Mail: adrian.dyer@rmit.edu.au
Abstract: Free flying honeybees acquire colour information differently depending upon whether a target colour is learnt in isolation (absolute conditioning), or in relation to a perceptually similar color (differential conditioning). Absolute conditioning allows for rapid learning, but color discrimination is coarse. Differential conditioning requires longer learning but enables fine discriminations. These learning mechanisms involve different pathways in the bee brain, and it is possibly to specific the perceptual difficulty of a task by color similarity in a colorimetric space. Currently it is unknown whether differential conditioning in honeybees forms a long term memory, and the stability of memory considering similar or saliently different colour stimuli. Individual free flying honeybees (N=6) were trained to similar colour stimuli separated by 0.062 hexagon units for 60 trails and mean accuracy was 81.7% +/- 12.2 s.d.. Bees retested on subsequent days showed a significant linear correlation of accuracy dropping with increasing time (Spearman’s rho = 0.617, p< 0.001). In contrast, bees (N=6) trained to saliently different colours (>0.15 hexagon units) did not experience any decay in memory retention. This shows that whilst the bees’ visual system can enable fine discriminations, flowers producing saliently different colours are more remembered by foraging bees.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Honey Bee Location-Time Linked Memory Use in Novel Foraging Situations
Authors: Marisol Amaya-Marquez 1, Peggy S. M. Hill 2, Charles Abramson 3 and Harrington Wells 2
Affiliations: 1 Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Columbia
2 Department of Biological Science, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA; E-Mail: harrington-wells@utulsa.edu
3 Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
Abstract: Learning facilitates adaptation, leading to higher success rates when foraging. However, memory is of decreasing value with changes brought about by moving to novel resource locations or activity at different times of the day. These premises suggest a foraging model with location-time linked memory. Thus, each problem is novel, and selection should favor a maximum likelihood approach to achieve energy maximization results. Alternatively, information is potentially always applicable. This premise suggests a different foraging model, one where initial decisions should be based on previous learning regardless of the foraging site or time. Under this second model, no problem is considered novel, and selection should favor a Bayesian or pseudo-Bayesian approach to achieve energy maximization results. We tested these two models by offering honey bees a learning situation at one location in the morning, where nectar rewards differed between flower colors, and examining their behavior at a second location in the afternoon where rewards did not differ between flower colors. Flower color remained the same but time, location, reward-scent and flower morphology differed. Experiments were performed using flower patches of blue and yellow and patches of blue and white flowers. Foraging behavior was context dependent. When visiting blue-yellow flower patches, each bee showed high fidelity to one color, some to yellow and others to blue. This behavior persisted even when the alternative flower color offered a greater reward. Further an individual’s flower color fidelity persisted with change in location and foraging time. In contrast, bees foraging on blue-white patches all rapidly learned to restrict flower visitation to the most rewarding flower color in the morning, irrespective of the higher rewarding color. Information learned in the morning was clearly used in the afternoon at a new foraging site. Memory was not location-time restricted in terms of use when visiting either flower color dimorphism.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Effect of the Olfactory Stimulus on the Flight Course of Honeybee, Apis Mellifera, in a Wind Tunnel
Authors: Hidetoshi Ikeno 1, Tadaaki Akamatsu 1, Yuji Hasegawa 2 and Hiroyuki Ai 3
Affiliations: 1 School of Human Science and Environment, University of Hyogo, Hyogo 670-0093, Japan; E-Mail: ikeno@shse.u-hyogo.ac.jp
2 Honda Research Institute Japan Co. Ltd., Saitama 351-0188, Japan
3 Div. of Biology, Dept. of Earth System Science, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan
Abstract: It is known that honeybee (Apis mellifera) use olfactory stimulus as important information to orient to the food sources. Olfactory related behavioral mechanisms of honeybees have been investigated extensively, such as learning mechanisms by the analysis of proboscis extension reflex, transmission of information about forging site. Several studies for olfactory induced orientation flight are conducting in the wind tunnel and the field. By these studies, optical flow is utilized for main information using olfactory signal additionally and the navigational course shows Lévy flight property. However, flight behavior responded to the odor still hard to investigate, so it is not clear how olfactory information is utilized during flight. Therefore to target the mechanisms of olfactory navigation in honeybees, we analyzed detail properties of flight trajectory when oriented to an odor source in a wind tunnel. We recorded flying bees with a video camera to analyze the flight area, velocity, angular velocity and direction. Bees were trained with an artificial feeder with an odor in the center of wind tunnel. After the feeder was removed, the flight behavior was compared under the condition with or without the olfactory stimulus, given from a glass pipe, located upwind from the feeder place. The results showed that honeybees flew back and forth over the proximity of the odor source at high frequency, and the search range corresponded approximately to odor range. In addition, the results showed that velocity, angular velocity and direction were different between the inside and the outside of the odor area. Flight trajectories tend to be bent or curve in the just outside of the odor range. We conclude that flying bees responded to odor flow and oriented the odor source to quickly correct that course without deviating from the odor.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Honey Bee as a Model to Investigate Brain and Behavioural Asymmetries
Authors: Elisa Frasnelli 1,*, Albrecht Haase 1,2,3, Elisa Rigosi 1,3,4, Gianfranco Anfora 4, Lesley J. Rogers 5 and Giorgio Vallortigara 1
Affiliations: 1 Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Corso Bettini 31, I-38068 Rovereto, Italy; E-Mail: elisa.frasnelli@gmail.com
2 Department of Physics, University of Trento, via Sommarive 14, 38123 Povo, Italy
3 BIOtech research center, Dept. of Industrial Engineering, via Mesiano 77, 38123 Trento, Italy
4 IASMA Research and Innovation Center, Fondazione E. Mach, via E. Mach, 1, 38010 S.Michele a/A (TN), Italy
5 Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2450, Australia
Abstract: The honeybee Apis mellifera, with a brain of only 960,000 neurons and the ability to perform sophisticated cognitive tasks, has become an excellent model in life sciences and in particular in cognitive and neurosciences. This surprising small insect has been used in our laboratories to investigate brain and behavioural asymmetries, i.e. the different functional specializations of the right and the left sides of the brain. It is well known that bees can learn to associate an odour stimulus with a sugar reward, as demonstrated by extension of the probiscis when presented with the trained odour in the so-called Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER) paradigm. Bees learn this association better when trained using their right antenna rather than they do when using their left antenna. They also retrieve short-term memory of this task better when using the right antenna. On the other hand, when tested for long-term memory recall, bees respond better when using their left antenna. Here we review a series of behavioural studies conducted on this topic, integrated with electrophysiological measurements to investigate asymmetries of olfactory sensitivity in honeybees, and also discuss the evolutionary origins of these asymmetries. We also present the morphological data obtained using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the functional data obtained with the two-photon microscope. A very recent behavioural study conducted in a social context is also included, showing that honeybees appear to control context-appropriate social interactions using their right antenna, rather than the left, and suggesting that lateral biases in behaviour appear to be associated with requirements of social life.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: The First Order Transfer Function in the Analysis of Pesticide Data in Honey Bees
Authors: Lisa A. De Sefano 1, Igor I. Stepanov 2 and Charles Abramson 1,*
Affiliations: 1 Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA; E-Mail: charles.abramson@okstate.edu
2 Igor I. Stepanov, Department of Neuropharmacology, Institute for Experimental Medicine, 12 Acad. Pavlov Street, St. Petersburg, 197376, Russia
Abstract: This paper describes a mathematical model of the learning process suitable for studies of proboscis conditioning (PER) in honey bees when bees are exposed to agro-chemicals. Although procedural variations exist in the way laboratories use the PER paradigm, proboscis conditioning is widely used to investigate the influence of pesticides and repellents on honey bee learning. Despite the availability of several mathematical models of the learning process, few attempts have been made to apply a mathematical model to the learning curve in honey bees exposed to chemicals. Our model is based on the a standard transfer function in the form Y = B3*exp(-B2*(X-1))+B4*(1-exp(-B2*(X-1))), where X is the trial number; Y is proportion of correct responses, B2 is the learning rate, B3 is readiness to learn and B4 is ability to learn. We previously applied the model to insect growth regulators tebufenozide and diflubenzuron. The results revealed that the main effect of tebufenozide was to decrease the learning rate (B2). In contrast, the main effect of diflubenzuron was to decrease the ability to learn (B4). These results suggest that diflubenzuron is more dangerous to honey bees than tebufenozide even though both insect growth regulators are considered “harmless” to honey bees. Readiness to learn (B3) was not affected in honey bees with the exception that bees given 69.4 µg/bee of tebufenozide increased their readiness to learn. We now reanalyze previously published data on the effect of several classes of chemicals including: 1) those that are considered harmless to bees (e.g., pymetrozine, essential oils, dicofil), 2) sublethal exposure to pesticides known to harm honey bees (e.g., coumaphos, cyfluthrin, fluvalinate, permethrin) and 3) putative repellents of honey bees (e.g., butyric acid, citronella). The model revealed additional effects not detected with standard statistical tests of significance. We also discuss the training conditions necessary to use the model.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Contrasting effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors on reward and aversive olfactory memories in the honey bee
Authors: G. A. Lockett, F. Wilkes, P. Helliwell and R. Maleszka *
Affiliation: Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, ACT 0200, Canberra, Australia; E-Mail: ryszard.maleszka@anu.edu.au
Abstract: The essential role of epigenetic processes in brain plasticity is increasingly wellrecognised, and much recent research examines the role of histone modifications and DNA methylation in learning and memory. Our recent finding that like in mammals, DNA methylation is required for memory processing in honey bees1 prompted us to determine whether the involvement of histone acetylation in neural plasticity is also conserved in this species. In humans, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition has been reported to impair memory, yet in rodent model systems these drugs often facilitate memory. To reconcile these various reports, we examined the effects of three chemically distinct HDAC inhibitors, APHA compound 8 (C8), sodium butyrate (NaB) and phenyl butyrate (PB), on associative learning using a differential olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex (PER) paradigm, in which bees are trained in both reward and aversive olfactory associations. Memory for the dual association was impaired by all three inhibitors, which is thought to be mediated by increased transcription of memory-suppressing genes. All three inhibitors impaired aversive memory, however reward memories were unaffected by C8 and PB, and enhanced by NaB. The different effects of HDAC inhibition on reward compared to aversive memory are hypothesised to be produced by effects on the separate circuitries contributing to these two distinct types of memory. The three HDAC inhibitors are proposed to facilitate or have no effect on reward memory depending on varying specificities for inhibition of the conserved HDAC isoforms present in the honey bee. It is concluded that increased histone acetylation is negatively correlated with memory in the honey bee, and that reward and aversive memories are controlled by independent genetic pathways which are differentially vulnerable to HDAC inhibition.

Last update: 25 September 2013

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