Honeybee Husbandry

Honeybee colonies are normally accommodated in standard commercial hive bodies, and a host of literature for laypersons and experts exists on the practical aspects of keeping honeybees (for more information see Atkins et al., 1975; Laidlaw and Page, 1997). They can also easily be kept in hives or in sheltered milieus designed for specific research purposes, allowing for experimental manipulations or efficient censusing under seminatural conditions. Bees can be kept in indoor observation hives with access to the outside to facilitate behavioral observations and accurate censuses (for a discussion see Frisch, 1967). These hives can be designed to various sizes, but they require intense management. Egg-collection hives (Aase et al., 2005) consist of a single-frame hive body with two aluminum frames that hold 6 Jenter frame modules (Karl Jenter, Nurtingen, Germany). This design allows the collection and introduction of eggs and larvae by simple extraction and insertion of individual cell bases. Egg-collection hives are used for in vivo rearing of genetically manipulated bees (Amdam et al., 2003b), and is an alternative to laborious in vitro rearing procedures (for a discussion see Aase et al., 2005). An alternative to letting the bees fly into the wild is flight cages and flight rooms. They provide a controlled environment for studies of behavioral development and mortality (Jay, 1964; van Praagh and Velthuis, 1971) but need to be designed carefully (Omholt et al., 1995). Most external mortality risk factors can be excluded, and flight activity can be controlled and measured accurately (Neukirch, 1982).

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