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Varying response thresholds aid hive thermoregulation: honeybee

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infrared image of a beehive / Coen Boonen .. / LicenseCopyright - All Rights Reserved

Honeybees in a colony regulate hive temperature due to diverse response thresholds.

BIOMIMICRY TAXONOMY
Summary
"A honey bee colony is characterized by high genetic diversity among its workers, generated by high levels of multiple mating by its queen. Few clear benefits of this genetic diversity are known. Here we show that brood nest temperatures in genetically diverse colonies (i.e., those sired by several males) tend to be more stable than in genetically uniform ones (i.e., those sired by one male). One reason this increased stability arises is because genetically determined diversity in workers' temperature response thresholds modulates the hive-ventilating behavior of individual workers, preventing excessive colony-level responses to temperature fluctuations." (Jones 2006:402)

Watch Video of Bees Fanning Hive
About the inspiring organism
honey bee
Apis mellifera Linnaeus
Common name: Honey bee

Learn more at EOL.org
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Diverse 'threshold' of distributed system would 'dampen' spikes and create a more stable flow, of water, energy, transport etc.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Building, aerospace, electronics, wastewater treatment, energy, transportation



Experts
Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory (BeeLab)
Benjamin P. Oldroyd
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney
References
Jones, J. C.; Myerscough, M. R.; Graham, S.; Oldroyd, B. P. 2004. Honey Bee Nest Thermoregulation: Diversity Promotes Stability. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 402-404 p.
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