NCBI ROFL: Want to make your Africanized honey bees more aggressive? Get 'em drunk!

By ncbi rofl | January 5, 2011 7:00 pm

It’s insect week on NCBI ROFL! All week long we’ll be featuring the funniest scientific papers about our favorite creepy crawlies. Enjoy!

Development of an ethanol model using social insects: IV. Influence of ethanol on the aggression of Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera L.).

“Experiments were designed to determine whether ethanol influenced aggression in honey bees. Two experiments are reported. In Exp. 1, harnessed honey bees were fed a 1%, 5%, 10%, or 20% ethanol solution. Two control groups received either a sucrose solution only or no pretreatment, respectively. The dependent variable was the number of sting extensions over 10 min. Analysis showed that aggression in harnessed bees was not influenced by prior ethanol consumption. Because there was some suspicion that the extension of the sting apparatus may be hindered by harnessing, and the authors wanted to use a design that increased ecological validity, Exp. 2 was conducted with free-flying bees. Sucrose or 20% ethanol solutions were placed in front of beehives, and the number of stings on a leather patch dangled in front of the hive served as the dependent variable. The experiment was terminated after 5 hr. because bees exposed to ethanol became dangerously aggressive. A unique aspect of the study was that Africanized honey bees were used.”

Curious about articles I-III (there’s also a V)? Check them out here.

Photo: flickr/Jo Naylor

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WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethanol, fun with animals, NCBI ROFL
  • Georg

    I wonder,
    which concentration of “intoxicating liquor”
    the experimenters drank?
    Georg

  • gwb

    the same thing happens when you give alcohol to africanized americans.

  • mariner

    Caribbean bees must be different…I lived in the VI for some time and the bees would gather at the spill mat in the bar. They were anything but aggressive. You could pet them..

  • BeeKind

    Great article, but my question is: would there be some sort of emergency warning system in case some kind of large alcohol spill happened in Africanized Bee country? (like if a wine-holding truck crashed) Just wondering

  • BusyBee

    I think the guy on the IRB for this one probably had a vendetta against the guy who wanted to do the study….

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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