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Honey Bees More Likely to Regulate Hive’s ‘Thermostat’ During Rapid Temperature Increases

- July 1, 2016 - University of Colorado at Boulder - (excerpt)

Honey bees use their wings to cool down their hives when temperatures rise, but new University of Colorado Boulder research shows that this intriguing behavior may be linked to both the rate of heating and the size of a honey bee group.

The findings, which were recently published in the journal Animal Behaviour, indicate that honey bees anticipate and react to rapid temperature increases sooner than they do when the increase is gradual — but only when the bees are clustered in groups of 10.

“Larger groups of bees seem to be better than individuals or small groups at cuing in on how quickly an environment is changing,” said Chelsea Cook, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at CU-Boulder and lead author of the study.

The research may have implications for …