Nissa Coit: Ethyl Oleate Pheromone and Honey Bees

Interested in honey bee research?

Then you'll want to attend--or listen via Zoom--the next seminar hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Nissa Coit, a master's graduate student in the laboratory of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will present her exit seminar on "Effects of Ethyl Oleate Pheromone on Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)" at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28. 

She will deliver her seminar in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, UC Davis campus, and virtually on Zoom. The link:

"In winter, honey bees undergo a transition to a diutinus state, during which time brood rearing declines or stops entirely, and worker bees live for up to 20 weeks," Coit says in her abstract. "The mechanism, causes, and geographic prevalence of this transition are unknown, and can make managing honey bees in certain regions challenging. We hypothesized that the transition to overwintering is regulated by the forager pheromone, ethyl oleate, when forager bees are relegated to the hive for longer periods of time during poor weather conditions. We exposed bees of different ages and tasks to ethyl oleate and measured accepted markers of overwintering. Our findings indicate ethyl oleate may affect the efficiency of metabolism of protein into fat stores, allowing young bees to prepare for suboptimal conditions. Ethyl oleate, when concomitant with other factors such as gradual decline in brood pheromone, pollen dearth, cold temperatures, and photoperiod, may contribute to the transition to overwintering."

Coit, who grew up around Asheville, N.C., holds a bachelor of science degree in biology (2019) from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

Her biography on the Niño website includes: "She was founder and president of the Carolina Beekeeping Club, whose efforts recently succeeded in making UNC, a Bee Campus USA. She first became interested in honey bees in high school while taking a summer class at Cornell. In college, she began volunteering at the NC State University Honey Bee Research Laboratory to gain more experience with bees. Since then, she has also worked at NC State as a research technician and conducted her own research on pheromone variation of brood and queens among different stocks of bees."

Coit studied abroad at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, in 2017, from July to November. 

Emily Meineke, assistant professor of urban landscape entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, coordinates the department's seminars for the 2022-23 academic year. All 11 seminars will take place both person and virtually at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesdays in Room 122 of Briggs Hall except for the Nov. 9th and Dec. 7th seminars, which will be virtual only, she said.  (See list of seminars)

For further information on the seminars or technical difficulties with Zoom, contact Meineke at