Honey Bee Queens Chemically Manipulate the Brains of Workers

New research in Current Biology asserts that pheromones used by Queen bees to communicate with the hive members aren't just for signaling - they also contain chemical compounds that alter the cognition of worker bees - effectively controlling their brains.

For example, the balance of substances such as dopamine and serotonin is apparently regulated through pheromones issued by the queen, changing the 'mood' of the hive members and possibly also orchestrating the division of labor, which occurs in 5 or 6 different task areas such as gathering pollen, nectar, both of the previous, water , resin (for hive repair), nursery services for pupal bees and cleaning, and guard duty at the entrance of the hive.

These tasks are all divided depending on the age of the bee, the season, and enviornmental change - and all appear to be modulated through the queen's pheromones - a conductor's baton, if you will, for the hive's symphony.

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