Bees are incredibly smart insets, they have created a organised and highly sophisticated means of communication through the release of pheromones.
In case you didn't know what pheromones are, they are " a chemical substance released into the environment by an animal, to express a change in behavior or physiology of others of the same species".
Bees use their extraordinary sense of smell to detect these chemical signals. Bees have 170 olfactory or ‘smell’ receptors!!
Types of pheromones
The Queen Mandibular Phereomone (QMP) is the most important pheromone released to the colony. It is secreted by the queen and essentially sends a message of "queen well-being" throughout the colony.
This hormone plays a role in: the suppression of egg-laying by worker bees, swarming and in attracting drones when mating.
When worker bees encounter the pheromones, they carry it around on their body and this spread the signal to others in the colony that the queen is healthy.
The release of this pheromone is to alert near by bees of a threat. This pheromone actually smells like bananas. The pheromone notifies other bees that there has been a defensive reaction.
Another pheromone is realised and used as an anesthetic and to paralyze intruders, after which bees remove the intruder from the hive.
This pheromone is released by developing larvae and pupae.
Drone Congregation Areas (DCRs) are regularly used as places, for drones to mate with the queens. The drone pheromone is emitted by male bees to attract other drones to this area.
This pheromone can be picked up on eggs laid by a queen.
This pheromone lets workers distinguish which eggs they have laid and which are laid by the queens. The later is more valuable to them.
This is released by worker bees to signal to other bees who are retuning from their foraging duties, where the hive is. It makes sure that these bees don't get lost.
The queen leaves this pheromone in her presence as she roams around the hive, it lets others know that she is still active.