5.5. Summary

We have described both field and laboratory bioassays with their cons and pros for evaluating queen chemical cues inducing and sustaining the retinue of workers around the queen. This behaviour seems to be mediated by signals that are derived from a number of sources. The discussed bioassay systems offer a means for evaluation of the short range queen attractive compounds from various sources. These bioassays are useful for testing any suspected attractive source as well as for evaluating changes in worker responses to queen-retinue-inducing-signals and changes in the queen’s abilities to produce such cues. Still, retinue behaviour does not necessarily mirror workers' response to the whole queen’s chemical bouquet. Isolation of cues indicating queen quality, long range queen attractiveness etc., need to be guided by separate and specific bioassays.  Moreover, in order to clearly distinguish the roles of volatile versus contact cues, the responding workers should be separated from the queen by double mesh screen to prevent any contact (Katzav-Gozansky et al., 2004).