Pheromones are chemical signals that have evolved for communication between members of the same species. A pheromone signal elicits a specific reaction in the receiver. The honeybee has one of the most complex pheromonal communication systems found in nature, possessing 15 known glands that produce an array of compounds.
These chemical messengers secreted by a queen, drone, worker bee, brood, and laying worker bee elicit a response in other bees in the colony. They are produced as a volatile or non-volatile liquid and transmitted by direct contact. These chemical messages are received by the bee’s antenna and other body parts.
The bee pheromones can be grouped into releaser pheromones which temporarily affect the recipient’s behaviour and trigger an immediate response, and primer pheromones which have relatively slow and long-term effect on the physiology and behaviour of the recipient.