Report

Honey Bee Nest Thermoregulation: Diversity Promotes Stability

Science  16 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5682, pp. 402-404
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096340

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Abstract

A honey bee colony is characterized by high genetic diversity among its workers, generated by high levels of multiple mating by its queen. Few clear benefits of this genetic diversity are known. Here we show that brood nest temperatures in genetically diverse colonies (i.e., those sired by several males) tend to be more stable than in genetically uniform ones (i.e., those sired by one male). One reason this increased stability arises is because genetically determined diversity in workers' temperature response thresholds modulates the hive-ventilating behavior of individual workers, preventing excessive colony-level responses to temperature fluctuations.

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