Genetic Component of Bee Odor in Kin Recognition

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Science  30 Nov 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4422, pp. 1095-1097
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4422.1095


The primitively social sweat bee, Lasioglossum zephyrum, blocks the entry into its nest of most conspecifics from other colonies. Laboratory inbreeding of these bees produced lines which showed a positive linear relationship between the coefficient of relationship of bees tested and how often they permitted non-nestmates to pass them. The most probable mechanism is a genetically determined odor coupled with a learned component by which guard bees discriminate between odors of close kin and other bees.