Question of the Week

If I move an insect in my car will it die?

Tue, 16th Sep 2014

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Gert asked:

If you should accidentally relocate an ant or a bee, in your car for example, would they join another colony or simply die?


Henry Ferguson-Gow -  Generally, when a lost worker tries to enter a foreignBumblebee - Bombus terrestris colony it will be treated with aggression, at best rejected from the colony, and at worst outright killed.

This is because the invading ant would most likely be unrelated to the workers and queen of the new colony. Being closely related is the glue that holds a colony together, and an unrelated individual would have no evolutionary interest in working to raise the offspring of their adopted queen. Instead, they would exploit the resources of the colony, or worse, start laying their own eggs.

Although sometimes nestmate recognition systems fail (for example, rogue buff-tailed bumblebees have been documented drifting between unrelated nests in the wild), in general an unrelated interloper is not tolerated.


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