Long Live the Queen

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Male bees don't have time, or frankly care, to stop and smell the flowers. They don't frolic among the daisies, foraging for food. Their sole purpose in life is to mate with the queen. Then they die.

Now, Professor Hugh Robertson of the University of Illinois and his colleagues have figured out how males do it, in a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The males have tiny odor receptors on their antennae that allow them to smell a queen up to 180 feet away.

The queen does her part by releasing a pheromone called 9-oxo-2 decenoic acid--a name that doesn't exactly role off the tongue like Chanel No. 5. But when all you need to do is attract a male whose sole purpose in life is to get you pregnant, how fancy do you really need to get?

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