Abstract The proboscis-extension reflex of the honeybee, which is subject to classical conditioning was examined by monitoring the proboscis movements with a video camera and recording extracellularly from the muscle which retracts the labium. 1. 1. The movements of the proboscis during feeding are divided into three phases: extension, repeated licking phases (licks) and retraction. 2. 2. Recordings from both symmetrically arranged muscles show a one to one relationship of muscle potentials during licks, but they are less synchronized during the extension phase, where the muscle ipsilateral to the stimulated antenna is activated first. 3. 3. In an odour conditioning paradigm, the latency between the onset of the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response shortens with acquisition and lengthens with extinction. 4. 4. During extinction, the motor programme is gradually shortened by means of a decreased number of licks between the extension and retraction phases.