Adaptation of hypopharyngeal gland development to the brood status of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies

J Insect Physiol. 1998 Oct;44(10):929-939. doi: 10.1016/s0022-1910(98)00058-4.


We studied pollen consumption, head weight, hypopharyngeal gland (HPG) acini diameter, and protein synthesis and transfer in honeybee workers reared in colonies with normal and with decreasing amounts of brood. We found that head fresh weight is correlated with size of the glands and that pollen consumption is positively correlated with gland development. An effect of brood on size of the glands could be confirmed, but was not as profound as in previous studies. Similarly, no difference in the amount of protein synthesized or transferred in workers living under the two brood conditions was found. We suspect this is due to the fact that HPGs also supply food to young bees and in our study young bees were always present while in previous studies, colonies often lacked both brood and young bees.