Miscellaneous standard methods for Apis mellifera research

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Journal of Apicultural Research Vol. 52(4)
DOI 10.3896/IBRA.
Date September 2013
Article Title

Miscellaneous standard methods for Apis mellifera research


Hannelie Human, Robert Brodschneider, Vincent Dietemann, Galen Dively, James D Ellis, Eva Forsgren, Ingemar Fries, Fani Hatjina, Fu-Liang Hu, Rodolfo Jaffé, Annette Bruun Jensen, Angela Köhler, Josef P Magyar, Asli Özkýrým, Christian W W Pirk, Robyn Rose, Ursula Strauss, Gina Tanner, David R Tarpy, Jozef J M van der Steen, Anthony Vaudo, Fleming Vejsnæs, Jerzy Wilde, Geoffrey R Williams and Huo-Qing Zheng


A variety of methods are used in honey bee research and differ depending on the level at which the research is conducted. On an individual level, the handling of individual honey bees, including the queen, larvae and pupae are required. There are different methods for the immobilising, killing and storing as well as determining individual weight of bees. The precise timing of developmental stages is also an important aspect of sampling individuals for experiments. In order to investigate and manipulate functional processes in honey bees, e.g. memory formation and retrieval and gene expression, microinjection is often used. A method that is used by both researchers and beekeepers is the marking of queens that serves not only to help to locate her during her life, but also enables the dating of queens. Creating multiple queen colonies allows the beekeeper to maintain spare queens, increase brood production or ask questions related to reproduction. On colony level, very useful techniques are the measurement of intra hive mortality using dead bee traps, weighing of full hives, collecting pollen and nectar, and digital monitoring of brood development via location recognition. At the population level, estimation of population density is essential to evaluate the health status and using beelines help to locate wild colonies. These methods, described in this paper, are especially valuable when investigating the effects of pesticide applications, environmental pollution and diseases on colony survival.


COLOSS, BEEBOOK, immobilising bees, killing bees, storing bees, bee weight, microinjection, marking and clipping queens, haemocytometer, colony density, hive weight, dead bee traps, collecting pollen and nectar, digital recognition

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