Queen Bee Uncovered
A University of Otago study has unearthed the secret to queen bees’ dominance in the hive. According to its findings, queens keep their worker bee subjects calm and obedient by secreting a scent that prevents them from learning from negative experiences (known as aversive learning). “Aversive learning is when the animal makes an association between a particular odour and a nasty experience,” said senior study author Alison Mercer in the LA Times. By preventing aversive learning, the queen ensures that her worker bees will stay in the hive and not use their stings, even if an unpleasant event occurs. The University of Otago study has been published in the leading UK journal, Science.