Bees Form Scent-Driven Phone Tree to Pass Along Messages
Published:30 Mar.2021    Source:University of Colorado at Boulder

Honeybees play a scent-driven game of telephone to guide members of a colony back to their queen, according to a new study led by University of Colorado Boulder. The research, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlights how insects with limited cognitive abilities can achieve complex feats when they work together -- even creating what looks like a miniature and buzzing version of a telecommunications network.

The findings also serve as a testament to a honeybee's love for its queen. These matriarchs are the most important members of any hive: They're the only females able to reproduce. Queens, like other members of a colony, can also communicate using pheromones, or small and odorous molecules that bees produce through special glands.