6.1. Introduction

Compared to studies using appetitive sucrose stimuli, the use of aversive stimuli has been rather neglected in honey bee research (Wells, 1973; Srinivasan, 2010), although there are several reasons for studying aversive learning in honey bees. First, aversive conditioning paradigms can help in teasing apart theories in the comparative analysis of learning (Abramson et al., 2010b). Second, honey bees must be able to predict dangers (McNally and Westbrook, 2006). Under field conditions, they face numerous challenges related to the escape and avoidance of aversive stimuli including those related to predators, pesticides, and repellents. This behaviour can be tested in laboratory assays on aversive conditioning (Abramson et al., 2006a). A third reason to study aversive conditioning is to provide new paradigms that can further advance the neurobiological and genomic understanding of learning mechanisms. Two of the most well-known examples using aversive stimuli are based on conditioning of sting extension (Giurfa et al., 2009) and on place learning (Agarwal et al., 2011).

The BEEBOOK