Imagine a small town where everything is uniform—a tiny community of individuals who eat the same meals and pair up with people with similar qualities and traits. The scenery is stripped down: one church, one pub and cookie-cutter houses. Now add in social interactions. Greetings occur but they have few variations; life is routine. And just a few miles over in a town with the same layout, similar individuals are interacting, eating and greeting, in all the same ways.
Researchers have found that pheromones play a key role in reproduction and social status in the buff-tailed bumblebee colony. Specifically, sterile female workers seem to advertise their infertility with extra pheromones in an attempt to ward off harassment from competing bees.