Honeybees live in social groups consisting of a queen, up to several hundred male drones, and thousands of infertile female workers. The drones mate with the queen only, and the workers protect the hive, forage, and feed and groom the queen. The health of the hive depends on the female workers performing these duties instead of reproducing. What roles do pheromones play in maintaining a functional beehive?
Researchers observed that the queen produces a pheromone that attracts both drones and workers. They hypothesized that this pheromone inhibits ovarian development in the workers, making the workers infertile. To test this hypothesis, they exposed workers to a synthetic version of the queen pheromone and then recorded their “ovary development score.” (Higher scores indicate more fully developed ovaries.) The results are shown in the graph here. Do these results support the researchers’ hypothesis? Why or why not? (*** signifies P<0.001.)