• Pollen-collecting honeybee attempts landing on a cherry blossom
Chair of Behavioral Physiology & Sociobiology

Scheiner lab - Behavioral biology of the honeybee

Honey bees have been model organisms in behavioral biology for many decades. With their unique behavioral diversity, they offer ideal conditions for research into fundamental mechanisms of behavioral control. Our research focuses on social behavior, learning behavior and the adaptation of honey bees to their respective habitat. We are also investigating how the Anthropocene will affect honey bees. Here, our research focuses on the effects of pesticides and their combination, adaptation to the Varroa mite and adaptation to climate change.


  • Identifying gene functions in honeybees through genetic knockout by CRISPR/Cas9
    (funded by the Volkswagen Foundation)
  • Effects of multiple stressors on honeybees and wild bees
    (funded by the Bavarian Environment Ageny)
  • The molecular mechanisms underlying local adaptation to high elevation habitats in the honey bee Apis mellifera
    (funded by the German Research Foundation)
  • Effects of an innovative beekeeping method with reduced Varroa mite treatment on the efficiency and vitality of honeybees in near-natural beekeeping
    (funded by the federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture)
  • Effects of land use on resource partitioning and foraging neuroecology in four honey bee species in India
    (funded by the German Research Foundation)


Selected publications

  • New insight into molecular mechanisms underlying division of labor in honeybees. Schilcher, Felix; Scheiner, Ricarda. In Current Opinion in Insect Science, 59, p. 101080. 2023.
  • A combination of the frequent fungicides boscalid and dimoxystrobin with the neonicotinoid acetamiprid in field-realistic concentrations does not affect sucrose responsiveness and learning behavior of honeybees. Schuhmann, Antonia; Scheiner, Ricarda. In Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 256, p. 114850. 2023.
  • Intrasexual cuticular hydrocarbon dimorphism in a wasp sheds light on hydrocarbon biosynthesis genes in Hymenoptera. Moris, Victoria C.; Podsiadlowski, Lars; Martin, Sebastian; Oeyen, Jan Philip; Donath, Alexander; Petersen, Malte; Wilbrandt, Jeanne; Misof, Bernhard; Liedtke, Daniel; Thamm, Markus; Scheiner, Ricarda; Schmitt, Thomas; Niehuis, Oliver. In Communicatons Biology, 6(147). 2023.
  • Individual consistency in the learning abilities of honey bees: cognitive specialization within sensory and reinforcement modalities. Finke, Valerie; Scheiner, Ricarda; Giurfa, Martin; Avarguès-Weber, Aurore. In Animal Cognition, 26, pp. 909–928. 2023.
  • Opposing Actions of Octopamine and Tyramine on Honeybee Vision. Schilcher, Felix; Thamm, Markus; Strube-Bloss, Martin; Scheiner, Ricarda. In Biomolecules, 11(9), p. 1374. 2021.