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Proboscis Conditioning Experiments with Honeybees,Apis Mellifera Caucasica,with Butyric Acid and DEET Mixture as Conditioned and Unconditioned Stimuli

Abramson, Charles I.
Giray, Tugrul
Mixson, T. Andrew
Nolf, Sondra L.
Wells, Harrington
Kence, Aykut
Kence, Meral
Three experiments are described investigating whether olfactory repellents DEET and butyric acid can support the classical conditioning of proboscis extension in the honeybee, Apis mellifera caucasica (Hymenoptera: Apidae). In the first experiment DEET and butyric acid readily led to standard acquisition and extinction effects, which are comparable to the use of cinnamon as a conditioned stimulus. These results demonstrate that the odor of DEET or butyric acid is not intrinsically repellent to honey bees. In a second experiment, with DEET and butyric acid mixed with sucrose as an unconditioned stimulus, proboscis conditioning was not established. After several trials, few animals responded to the unconditioned stimulus. These results demonstrate that these chemicals are gustatory repellents when in direct contact. In the last experiment a conditioned suppression paradigm was used. Exposing animals to butyric acid or DEET when the proboscis was extended by direct sucrose stimulation or by learning revealed that retraction of the proboscis was similar to another novel odor, lavender, and in all cases greatest when the animal was not permitted to feed. These results again demonstrate that DEET or butyric acid are not olfactory repellents, and in addition, conditioned suppression is influenced by feeding state of the bee.