Monday, January 24, 2011

Day #104 Smelly Feet

Queen bees have smelly feet, and that's what keeps their workers happy.

(c) Yelloideas Photography
The tarsal glands on the queen's feet ooze with pheromones (chemical substances) that ebb and flow. The mandibular glands in her mouth do the same thing. Nobody’s figured out precisely how many pheromones are present, but it is known that they are precise indicators of the queen’s health. Changes in the balance of pheromones let the worker bees know what shape their queen is in. If she smells right, she’s okay. If something goes wrong with her, her feet change their smell and the workers know they have to do something.

Public Domain Photo
The attendant worker bees constantly groom the queen, and this spreads the queen smell throughout the hive. The bees are so sensitive to the smell of their queen that when a queen is disabled or is removed from the hive, the workers all know it within minutes and spring into action to correct the problem.

As any bee can tell you, you gotta have those wonderful, informative, smelly feet!

BEEattitude for Day # 104:
       Blessed is she who knows (nose) what’s she’s doing, for she shall, like us bees, be productive.

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       The New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, where there’s a marvelous production of Twelfth Night during January. 

No comments: