Bees commonly use odors in order to communicate with each other. This behavior is especially prevalent in the context of mating. These odors, are most often produced by the bees themselves – that is, they are chemicals produced by their glands. Some bees however, make use of odors found in their environment in order to communicate. The males of the neotropical orchid bee genera, which count more than 200 species, collect volatile chemicals from their environment (from flowers, fruit, tree wounds, feces etc) and deposit those in leg pouches in order to create different fragrances which they then use to perfume territorial sites where mating occurs. The role of these fragrances is yet unknown. What is quite astounding, is that these bees use a form of enfleurage (a method of extraction of floral scents by means of a lipophilic carrier, in other words, grease – a method widely used in the perfume industry)! Specifically, in order “to collect fragrances, the bees apply large amounts of straight-chain lipids to odoriferous surfaces from their cephalic labial glands, which dissolve the volatiles, and the mixture is then transferred to voluminous hind-leg pockets.” (...) “From the hind-leg pockets (...) deuterated derivatives of carrier lipids (are) consecutively sequestered, shuttled back to the labial glands and reused on consecutive bouts of fragrance collection. Such lipid cycling is instrumental in creating complex perfume bouquets.”
Reference: Adaptation of text and quotes, “Enfleurage, lipid recycling and the origin of perfume collection in orchid bees”, Eltz et al., 2007, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 274.
Perfume holds the power to enhance my mood and even change it. I can use it to highlight aspects of myself. It can make my heart swoop with joy and it can send me back in time by awakening distant memories. I want to share my love for perfume with you. Let's exchange our thoughts and share our experiences.