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Honey bee chemoreceptors found for smell and taste

efend themselves with toxins," Robertson said. "And in the nurturing environment of the hive, bee larvae are provisioned by adults with food that is pretty much free of toxins. Since the bees don't have to detect toxins, they don't need many gustatory receptors."

While honey bees don't need many taste buds, they do require an excellent sense of smell to detect chemical signals, such as pheromones, that control bee behavior inside and outside the hive.

For example, the sole task of male drone bees is to mate with virgin queen bees, and the male's antennae are specifically designed for the detection of queen pheromone.

"We have identified several honey bee odorant receptors that are abundantly expressed in male antennae," Robertson said. "This moves us an important step closer to understanding the molecular details of how bees, and insects in general, smell."


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Contact: James E. Kloeppel
kloeppel@uiuc.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
25-Oct-2006


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