Reports

Swarm Orientation in Honeybees

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Science  26 Jul 1963:
Vol. 141, Issue 3578, pp. 357-358
DOI: 10.1126/science.141.3578.357

Abstract

A swarm of honeybees will move up to 75 m (250 feet) without its queen but only for 3 to 8 minutes. The swarm is aware of the presence of its queen, but the queen does not lead the swarm from one location to another. Bees return to a queen which cannot follow the swarm in flight and in fact are capable of finding a queen "lost along the way." The source of the odoriferous substance(s) responsible for a swarm's detection of its queen appears to be glands in her head.