Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joseph P. Woodring


This dissertation represents an attempt to relate behavioral states of worker honey bees to brain levels of biogenic amines. The first chapter describes the results of experiments which indicated that brain levels of octopamine, dopamine and serotonin were affected by factors including the degree of handling stress, worker age, season of sampling and the source colony from which the workers were sampled. These results helped shape the methods employed in the subsequent chapters. The second and third chapters relate changes in brain dopamine levels to worker honey bee ovarian development. In particular, chapter II showed that an increase in brain dopamine content could be associated with increased ovariole width in worker bees. Chapter III presents experiments which show that both brain dopamine and worker ovary development are reduced by exposure to CO$\sb2.$ The evidence indicates that dopamine is significantly elevated after the ovaries have begun to develop; therefore, brain dopamine may or may not be directly related to stimulation of reproductive processes in worker bees. The final chapter represents an attempt to modify the buzzing responses of groups of honey bees to the alarm pheromone component, isopentyl acetate (IPA). A laboratory bioassay that measured sound responses by groups of bees after exposure to IPA was used to test the effects various doses of ingested amine precursors (tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptophan and L-DOPA). Ingested 5-hydroxytryptophan was found to reduce responses to IPA, and ingested tryptophan was found to cause hyperactivity in bees. These results are discussed relative to changes in brain chemistry related to ingestion of the different amine precursors.