7.1.1. Temperature and thermotactic orientation in a honey bee hive

Honey bees live in a complex environment inside their hive and perform different tasks in different locations of the hive, depending on their age (Lindauer, 1952; Sakagami, 1953; Seeley, 1982). These locations differ from each other with respect to the stimuli they present to the bees (i.e. temperature: Fahrenholz et al., 1989; Crailsheim et al., 1999a; Tautz et al., 2003; Stabentheiner et al., 2003; Groh et al., 2004; Kernbach et al., 2009; Becher et al., 2010; Schmickl and Hamann, 2011). Several important regions of a honey bee colony (Fig. 8) differ significantly in their temperature, ranging from the actively temperature-controlled brood nest (33-36°C; Kleinhenz et al., 2003) to the cooler regions of the dance floor and the honey storage area (30-32°C). Newly emerged honey bees, which have a temperature preference for approximately 36°C (Heran, 1952), tend to locate themselves in the brood nest area. These bees are not yet fully developed physiologically. Stabentheiner et al. (2010) suggest that by searching for places with higher brood nest temperature they ensure the proper development of their flight muscles.

Studies have shown that bees are able to find and stay in areas of their preferred temperature (Heran, 1952; Ohtani, 1992; Grodzicki and Caputa, 2005). Therefore, the concept of actively-controlled motion by honey bees in heterogeneous temperature fields is widely accepted.

Fig. 8. Combs in an observation hive. Different regions of the combs are marked as honey (Ho) or pollen storage area (Po) or as brood area with open (Bo) and sealed brood (Bv). Some areas have a characteristic temperature (e.g. 33-36°C in the brood nest), which appears to contribute to the bees' navigation within the hive.

1293PN revised Fig 8

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