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Retinue behaviour in bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris L.)

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 28 (2) pp. 66-70
March 1989
Article Title

Retinue behaviour in bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris L.)


Adriaan Van Doorn And Agnes Chrambach


A description is given of retinue behaviour in the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris (L.) (using this name in the traditional sense; Macfarlane, 1988). The queen evokes retinue behaviour during a considerable period of colony life. All workers emerging during that time attend her. There were no more than 8 workers in the court at anyone time. Attending workers may start buzzing. During the first 5 days of life the future differentation of workers into egglayers and foragers is not reflected in their participation in these activities. Future egglayers and foragers, however, do perform retinue and buzzing behaviour significantly more often than the remaining workers. It is only after the first 5 days of life, i.e. after the start of foraging, that differences between future egglayers and foragers become detectable. From then on future egglayers can be singled out from the other groups in that they participate more often in the court and are more likely to start buzzing while attending.


Retinue behaviour, bumblebee workers, Bombus terrestris L.,

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