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The Olfactory Sense of Insects

Excerpt from The Olfactory Sense of Insects This discussion was originally written as the second part of the author's (1914a) paper on "The Olfactory Sense of the Honey Bee." On account of the great length of this paper it was necessary to omit the discussion. Since the first part of the paper was published a few more references have been collected and the author (1914b) has written a second paper on the same subject concerning the Hymenoptera. Several letters have also been received requesting that a complete discussion be published. Another reason for publishing this discussion is to reveal the chaos which now exists on this subject so that students may hereafter replace such chaos by facts. The author is grateful in various ways to Dr. E. F. Phillips, in charge of bee culture investigations, and to Miss Mabel Colcord, librarian of the Bureau of Entomology, for invaluable aid in securing references. Sense Of Smell In General Aristotle is the earliest author whose writings on the sense of smell in insects are available. He says: As for insects, both winged and wingless, they can detect the presence of scented objects afar off, as for instance bees and cnipes detect the presence of honey at a distance; and they do so recognizing it by smell. Many insects are killed by the odor of brimstone; ants, if the apertures to their dwellings be smeared with powdered origanum and brimstone, quit their nests; and most insects may be banished with burnt hart's horn, or by burning of gum styrax. Virgil was a beekeeper as well as a poet. The ancients used roasted or burnt crabs in the treatment of certain bee diseases, but Virgil warned beekeepers that the odors arising from such materials are injurious to bees. He also reports that certain strongly scented plants were rubbed on the tree where a swarm of bees was collecting, so that these odors might prevent them from going farther. Pliny states that the odors of origanum, of common lime, and of sulphur kill ants. Gnats hunt for acids and do not approach things which are sweet. Varro (1735) infers that bees can distinguish odors, and that they are sensitive to perfumes which come from odoriferous objects; in this respect their preferences differ greatly. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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