ABS 2024
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Honey bees engage in disease-resistant behavioral patterns unique to their developmental stage
Mary Catherine Farrell1, Branique Burrows2. 1Agriculture Research and Development Program, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, United States; 2College of Humanties, Arts, and Sciences, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, United States

Honey bees are highly eusocial insects with complicated relationships between colony members. Individual bees undergo behavioral maturation, marked by extreme specialization in behavior, location, and activity levels, which optimize them for specific tasks. Nurse bees engage in brood care and groom other honey bees in the hive to remove pests such as Varroa destructor mites. Older honey bees guard the hive entrance which prevents the entrance of intruders. Although some studies have examined interpersonal behaviors in honey bees, knowledge of the behavioral repertoire across honey bee castes is lacking. In this study, we characterized interactions between newly emerged (young adult), nurse, and guard honey bees using an in-lab assay. We found that nurse bees engaged in self-grooming (autogrooming) more frequently than other groups, and more frequently engaged in a pattern of autogrooming after interacting with another bee. This unique pattern of behavior likely prevents further transmission of pests throughout the hive. These findings have strong implications for our understanding of disease resistant behavior in honey bees.��