• 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 studying basic mechanisms of decision making and behavioral control. Since honey bees are found all over the world, we use them to investigate the adaptation of behavior and their molecular basis. Our research focuses on social behavior, learning behavior and the adaptation of honeybees to their respective habitats. We also study honeybees' taste perception, nutrition and the function of clock genes in behavior. In addition to these questions, we are interested in applied aspects including the effects of plant protection products on the behavior of honeybees and are investigating new and sustainable ways to protect the bees from the Varroa mite.


  • Nutrition-related regulation of the nurse-forager transition in honeybees
    (funded by the German Research Foundation)
  • 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

  • Schilcher, F., Thamm, M., Strube-Bloss, M., & Scheiner, R. Opposing Actions of Octopamine and Tyramine on Honeybee Vision. Biomolecules, 11(9), 1374. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11091374
  • Scheiner, R., Frantzmann, F., Jäger, M., Mitesser, O., Helfrich-Förster, C., & Pauls, D. A Novel Thermal-Visual Place Learning Paradigm for Honeybees (<i>Apis mellifera</i>). Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, 56. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00056
  • Hesselbach, H., Seeger, J., Schilcher, F., Ankenbrand, M., & Scheiner, R. Chronic exposure to the pesticide flupyradifurone can lead to premature onset of foraging in honeybees (<i>Apis mellifera</i>). Journal of Applied Ecology, 57, 609-618. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13555
  • George, E. A., Bröger, A.-K., Thamm, M., Brockmann, A., & Scheiner, R. Inter-individual variation in honey bee dance intensity correlates with expression of the foraging gene. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 19, e12592. https://doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12592
  • Hesselbach, H., & Scheiner, R. Effects of the novel pesticide flupyradifurone (Sivanto) on honeybee taste and cognition. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4954. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23200-0