Scientists finally have an explanation for one the most unfair things in the animal kingdom. Why some insects are not allowed to have sex—underdeveloped sex organs? Insects that are trapped in a non-sexual activities, like, bees, wasps and ants. These insects have a special class of workers on their colonies. Who are incapable of mating. So, only the queen can produce offspring.
The biologists report that they figured out how workers are made sexless. It turns out that queens are capable of secreting chemicals that block the sexual development of the workers around them—like a reverse pheromone.
The research experimented with desert ants, common wasps and buff-tailed bumblebees. Found that the queen of each species release the same kind of chemical a saturated hydrocarbon.
While the exact recipe for this compound was slightly different for each species. The results were the same. Workers that were exposed to the chemical even when the queen wasn't present became infertile. However, workers that were kept separate from the queens quickly started to grow sex organs.
A good thing for them! Because these chemicals appear on such different kind of insect. Scientists think that this method of sexual control may have been used by bugs for a hundred and fifty million years. Awesome!