Hive Relocation Does Not Adversely Affect Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging
Psyche: A Journal of Entomology
Honey bees,Apis mellifera, face major challenges including diseases and reduced food availability due to agricultural intensification. Additionally, migratory beekeeping may subject colonies to a moving stress, both during the move itself and after the move, from the bees having to forage in a novel environment where they have no knowledge of flower locations. This study investigated the latter. We moved three colonies housed in observation hives onto the campus from a site 26 km away and
... 6 km away and compared their foraging performance to three similarly sized colonies at the same location that had not been moved. We obtained data on (1) foraging performance by calculating distance by decoding waggle dances, (2) hive foraging rate by counting forager departure rate, (3) forage quality by assessing sugar content of nectar from returning foragers, and (4) forager success by calculating the proportion of bees returning to the nest entrance with nectar in their crop. We repeated this 3 times (August 2010, October 2010, and June 2011) to encompass any seasonal effects. The data show no consistent difference in foraging performance of moved versus resident hives. Overall the results suggest that moving to a new location does not adversely affect the foraging success of honey bees.