Brood odor discrimination abilities in hygienic honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) using proboscis extension reflex conditioning

R. Masterman, B. H. Smith, M. Spivak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


To understand the effect of abnormal brood odors on the initiation or control of hygienic behavior in honey bees, we employed the associative learning paradigm, proboscis extension reflex conditioning. Bees from two genetic lines (hygienic and non-hygienic) were able to discriminate between high concentrations of two floral odors equally well. Differential discrimination abilities were observed between the two lines when healthy and diseased brood odors were used, with the bees from the hygienic line discriminating between the pair of brood odors better than the non-hygienic bees. These results suggest that hygienic behavior in individual bees is associated with the bees' responses to olfactory stimuli emanating from diseased brood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Apis Mellifera
  • Discrimination conditioning
  • Honey bees
  • Hygienic behavior
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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