It's all Scientific

Importance of Smelling Good

You must have hugged a friend and thought about how lovely he/she smelled…or you must have absolutely detested a person for his/her scent. How about being attracted by the scent of a man who you met and had a coffee with? Or by the scent of a woman when you nestled your face in her bosom? Do you appreciate the scent of a colleague you work with? Or sit as far away on the table from the person who smells weird? Read on to know what scents are and how they are important.

Chemosensory communication has always been relevant and important in the behaviour of organisms. Organisms as primitive as bacteria have been shown to have chemotactic behaviour where they sense the source of food and move towards that. We also witness evidences of chemosensory communication in higher organisms like cats and dogs on a day to day basis. We see dogs marking territories with their pee (this one is weird, I agree!) and cats marking their possessions by leaving their scent on objects when they rub against them.

Pheromones…the chemicals produced by an organism to induce a specific kind of response from its fellows. Sex pheromones induce a sexual attraction, aggregation pheromones induce the behaviour to stick together, alarm pheromones initiate defense or flight. Have you ever observed a trail of ants? Each ant walking along the exact track as the one before? Yep – pheromones!

We, like many of these organisms also are attracted to our mates (well ‘partners’, if you want to sound more evolved!) by their scent. The anatomical sites of secretion of these pheromones include scalp, genitals, chest/breasts, armpits and skin in general. If your partner smells particularly attractive to you, you may actually be a great biological match for each other. You can also identify your kin by merely smelling clothes they may have used to some point.

I have been interested in the behaviour of bees for quite some time now. And I came across some really interesting facts on bee pheromones. It seems that if a queen ever feels threatened by the worker bees in her colony, she releases a pheromone with her feces that works to repel the other bees from her. Bees have also been shown to use their pheromones to mark sources of food by scouts, for marking sites of building a new hive (in cases where they have to evacuate the parent hive  – this does happen…one known case of this happening is when a hive accidentally has two queens!), for gathering swarms during a flight, etc. Every colony of bees seems to have its unique pheromone.

The most exciting piece of information for me was this…The Queen produces what is called the Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP). She produces this to attract drones to mate during the mating flight, to suppress the reproductive systems of the worker bees in the colony ensuring thus that she is the only active reproductive female in the entire colony and to maintain overall harmony in the colony as if to say “she’s very much alive and there!”

*****

What do you think of this? The Queen Bee is very much the Queen, eh?

Can you identify your kin by smelling their clothes?

Leave your comments below with exciting bee behaviour facts if you know any.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “Importance of Smelling Good”

    1. Thanks Amanda for leaving your thoughts here. Yes, pheromones do play a huge huge role in evolution and I suppose that would explain why we are attracted to our partners by heir scent too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha-ha, you’re slightly confused with my name. 😁 but then autocorrect?

        It’s anaida 😉

        And, yes, you’re right. Body odor is big no- no😅

        Like

  1. Nice post. I don’t know to explain in scientific terms, but I would like to share a few memories here. When I got married, I brought along with me my mom’s saree and blouse. Whenever I open my cupboard, by default, I take out that saree and smell. Oh my dear Mom…. She’s no more but I can feel her presence. Believe it or not, that saree she wore for my dad’s 60th birthday celebrations. It’s my treasure and I would like to keep it with me forever.
    Now, you can understand the real meaning of the above post. Thank you dear daughter.

    Like

    1. Yes absolutely! We all associate memories or the feeling of a person by the way they smell. It’s lovely that you have something that belongs to your late mother and that it brings back fond memories for you. 🙂

      Like

  2. As a side note, a lot of people in the comments seem to confuse this with smelling good. But pheromones are part of your body odor. Bad odor comes when low hygiene leads to microbial scent added to our odor; or maybe one’s odor seems bad because you are not biologically attracted to the scent. But using fragrants and scented deodorants is not what counts as smelling good biologically. Just adding my two scents! Get it?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Aishwarya. Really interesting post. I want to be the friend people hug who they think smells lovely 🙂 I love my perfume, and it’s important to me what type of skin and hair products I use, because of their smells. I also like the smell of my boyfriend’s skin (and beard – hehe!!)- he thinks this is strange!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha it isn’t strange at all to me 🙂 like Archit has pointed out in his comment, scent is a biological attractant! If you like the smell of your boyfriend’s skin, there’s good reason to be with him 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi. This is Suresh, hope you remember me (Kamakshi’s Bro). Though I am not able to understand the scientific terminology, I could understand that you have to smell good for you as well as other person with whom you get in touch with. Nice and detailed one.

    Like

    1. Hello, I’m embarrassed to admit I’m unable to stir my memories.
      And well, on the one hand it is important to smell good but on the other hand one’s smell could either be an attractant or a repellant for one’s mate. And there’s nothing one can do about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. N i do vaguely remeber reading/seeing an article/documentary or how the couples that are attracted by their smell/scent have opposite immune systems.. honestly i dint get this part. (Hey, am no scientist :p)
    But apparently it is good genetically… or something like that

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm, be the scientist here n help us mere mortals understand the immunity thing..
        P.S. a disclaimer.. i could ve very well misinterpreted what was said.. so, if i am wrong, do enlighten me… :p

        Like

      2. Wow Sudersan, you were right! I did read up and found research articles that speak about how the immune system contributes to our likes in smell. Here’s a link to one of the articles if you are interested in a read –
        http://www.nature.com/news/2001/010308/full/news010308-10.html
        This is from University of Bern, Switzerland. The way the study has been done is to correlate the likes/dislikes of a small set of people (36 subjects) with the categories of their MHC complexes (some immune system jazz for a layman). But these studies haven’t been followed up to my knowledge and reading, which means that this finding could be a one off. Another thing to consider is to take such studies with a pinch of salt because the size of the samples (only 36 in this case) is quite small and so the results can be skewed by the kind of samples chosen. Third, correlation studies are always tricky. It’s like saying people with black hair are more likely to dance well – we all know that this can’t be a true correlation but for a particular sample set this can be true.
        Well that’s my rant about science….off you go 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah… that is interesting… I onky reme,ber reading about the study but dint quite bother to dig deeper.. but thanks for the update… does spund interesting..
        P.s. yet to read the lonk. Will do so soon.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s