The studies focus on cooperation and communication as well as on learning and memory in social insects. Honey bees, other social bees such as bumblebees and the tropical stingless bees, ants and termites serve as model systems. Production, propagation, perception and processing of chemical, visual, acoustic and vibratory signals are investigated. Methods used include gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, bioacoustic methods such as LASER Doppler vibrometry, and molecular methods.
The biology and control of parasites is studied on honey bees. The main focus is on the mite Varroa destructor. Side effects of pesticides on honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees are studied in the field and in semi-field and laboratory experiments. Another focus is on forensic entomology.
We investigate learning and teaching processes in the Alfried Krupp Schülerlabor at the Ruhr University and other extracurricular learning settings. Stress reactions in classroom and exam situations are investigated in high school students as well as in university students. In addition to the empirical methods of the social sciences, physiological methods are used.