• 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

Selected publications

  • 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.
  • Değirmenci, L., Thamm, M., and Scheiner, R. (2017) Responses to sugar and sugar receptor gene expression in different social roles of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), Journal of Insect Physiology 106, 65-70.
  • Scheiner, R., Entler, B. V., Barron, A. B., Scholl, C., and Thamm, M. (2017) The Effects of Fat Body Tyramine Level on Gustatory Responsiveness of Honeybees (Apis mellifera) Differ between Behavioral Castes, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 11, 55.
  • Thamm, M., Scholl, C., Reim, T., Grübel, K., Möller, K., Rössler, W., and Scheiner, R. (2017) Neuronal distribution of tyramine and the tyramine receptor AmTAR1 in the honeybee brain, Journal of Comparative Neurology 525, 2615-2631.