Changes with age in queen honey bee (Apis mellifera) head chemical constituents (Hymenoptera: Apidae).
Head chemical constituents were recorded from queen bees Apis mellifera at five ages between 7 and 35 days to determine changes in constituent levels with increasing age. The presence of sperm in the spermatheca of 7 and 14 day old queens was recorded to identify relationships between head chemical constituents in mated and unmated queens. Twelve chemical constituents were identified in measurable amounts from head extracts of queen honey bees. The blend of head chemicals changed as the bees aged with one of the chemical constituents (9-ODA) declining from 65% of the blend at age 7 days down to 40% by age 28 days. Non-mated 7 day old queens had higher average levels of three of the chemical constituents compared to their mated counterparts. However the variation between individual queen bees at each age was much larger than the differences attributable to age or mating status.