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Nosema spp. infection alters pheromone production in honey bees (Apis mellifera).

Journal of chemical ecology (2010-04-20)
Claudia Dussaubat, Alban Maisonnasse, Cedric Alaux, Sylvie Tchamitchan, Jean-Luc Brunet, Erika Plettner, Luc P Belzunces, Yves Le Conte

Pheromones in social insects play a key role in the regulation of group homoeostasis. It is well-established that parasites can modify hormone signaling of their host, but less is known about the effect of parasites on pheromone signaling in insect societies. We, thus, tested in honey bees (Apis mellifera) the effect of the widespread parasite Nosema spp. on the production of ethyl oleate (EO), the only identified primer pheromone in honey bee workers. Since environmental stressors like pesticides also can weaken honey bees, we also analyzed the effect of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid widely used in agriculture, on EO production. We show that, contrary to imidacloprid, Nosema spp. significantly altered EO production. In addition, the level of Nosema infection was correlated positively with the level of EO production. Since EO is involved in the regulation of division of labor among workers, our result suggests that the changes in EO signaling induced by parasitism have the potential to disturb the colony homoeostasis.

Product Number
Product Description

Ethyl oleate, 98%
Ethyl oleate, tested according to Ph. Eur.
Ethyl oleate, natural, ≥85%
Ethyl oleate, technical grade, 70%