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

Scheiner lab - Behavioral biology of the honeybee

Honeybees have long been model organisms for behavioral biology. They display an enormously rich behavioral repertoire and thus provide ideal conditions for investigating the mechanisms controlling behavior. They live in most parts of the world and serve us to study adaption of behavior. We are particularly interested in social behavior, learning behavior and individual behavioral decisions of honeybees. In addition, we investigate honeybee taste at different levels of the system. Further, we are interested in the effects of novel pesticides on honeybee behavior and study modern methods of treatments against the Varroa mite for their impacts on honeybee behavior.


  • Role of larval nutrition in controlling division of labor in honeybees
  • Characterization of honeybee taste receptors
  • Effects of novel insecticides on the behavior of honeybees
  • Comparative analysis of the behavior of different European honeybee subspecies
  • Role of neurotransmitters in adaptation to elevational gradients (South Africa, Kenya)
  • Investigation of division of labor in the foraging behavior of different Asian honeybee species (Southern India)
  • Effects of hypterthermia treatment on the behavior of worker honeybees
  • The role of male pheromones in the orientation of honeybee drones
  • Mechanisms underlying individual consistency in learning across modalities
  • Synergistic effects of insecticides and fungicides on the behavior of honeybees and wild bees

Selected publications

  • Değirmenci, L., Geiger, D., Keller, A., Krischke, B., Beye, M., Steffan-Dewenter, I., and Scheiner, R. (2020) CRISPR/Cas 9 mediated mutations as a new tool for studying taste in honeybees, Chemical Senses - early online.
  • Scheiner, R., Frantzmann, F., Jäger, M., Mitesser, O., Helfrich-Förster, C., and Pauls, D. (2020) A Novel Thermal-Visual Place Learning Paradigm for Honeybees (Apis mellifera), Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 14, 56.
  • Hesselbach, H., Seeger, J., Schilcher, F., Ankenbrand, M., and Scheiner, R. (2020) Chronic exposure to the pesticide flupyradifurone can lead to premature onset of foraging in honeybees (Apis mellifera), Journal of Applied Ecology 57, 609-618.
  • George, E. A., Bröger, A. -K., Thamm, M., Brockmann, A., and Scheiner, R. (2020) Inter-individual variation in honey bee dance intensity correlates with expression of the foraging gene, Genes, Brain and Behavior 19, e12592.
  • Hesselbach, H., and Scheiner, R. (2018) Effects of the novel pesticide flupyradifurone (Sivanto) on honeybee taste and cognition, Scientific Reports 8, 4954.