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Breed, Michael D

Professor Emerita/Emeritus


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  • How do members of a social group identify other members of the same group? This question is a core issue in understanding social behavior. In social insects group membership is usually identified by odor. Nestmate discrimination is expressed by guards a colony entrances, and potential intruders are forcibly excluded. My laboratory has focused on the chemical cues used by honeybees in making these discriminations. One interesting finding is that fatty acids play a key role in honeybees nestmate recognition, and that bees within a colony derive their recognition signal from fatty acids in comb wax. How do honeybee workers get matched with tasks in their colony? Our studies have shown that these tasks are performed by middle-aged bees. By placing these activities within the larger framework of colony activities, we can develop an understanding of how honeybe


  • Behavior and ecology of social insects


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