Juvenile hormone levels in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) foragers: Foraging experience and diurnal variation

Michelle M. Elekonich, David J. Schulz, Guy Bloch, Gene E. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A rising blood titer of juvenile hormone (JH) in adult worker honey bees is associated with the shift from working in the hive to foraging. We determined whether the JH increase occurs in anticipation of foraging or whether it is a result of actual foraging experience and/or diurnal changes in exposure to sunlight. We recorded all foraging flights of tagged bees observed at a feeder in a large outdoor flight cage. We measured JH from bees that had taken 1, 3-5, or > 100 foraging flights and foragers of indeterminate experience leaving or entering the hive. To study diurnal variation in JH, we sampled foragers every 6 h over one day. Titers of JH in foragers were high relative to nurses as in previous studies, suggesting that conditions in the flight cage had no effect on the relationship between foraging behavior and JH. Titers of JH in foragers showed no significant effects of foraging experience, but did show significant diurnal variation. Our results indicate that the high titer of JH in foragers anticipates the onset of foraging and is not affected by foraging experience, but is modulated diurnally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1125
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of insect physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001


  • Apis
  • Behavioral development
  • Diurnal variation
  • Division of labor
  • Foraging
  • Juvenile hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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