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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Miscellaneous standard methods for Apis mellifera research

Human, Hannelie; Brodschneider, Robert; Dietemann, Vincent; Dively, Galen; Ellis, James D.; Forsgren, Eva; Fries, Ingemar; Hatjina, Fani; Hu, Fu-Liang; Jaffé, Rodolfo; Jensen, Annette B.; Köhler, Angela; Magyar, Josef P; Ozkyrym, Asli; Pirk, Christian W W; Rose, Robyn; Strauss, Ursula; Tanner, Gina; Tarpy, David R.; van der Steen, Jozef J M;
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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

Published in

Journal of Apicultural Research
2013, volume: 52, number: 4, pages: 1-55

Authors' information

Human, Hannelie
Brodschneider, Robert
Dietemann, Vincent
Swiss Bee Research Centre
Dively, Galen
Ellis, James D.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Fries, Ingemar
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Hatjina, Fani
Hu, Fu-Liang
Jaffé, Rodolfo
University of Sao Paulo
Jensen, Annette B.
Köhler, Angela
Magyar, Josef P
Ozkyrym, Asli
Pirk, Christian W W
Rose, Robyn
Strauss, Ursula
University of Pretoria
Tanner, Gina
Tarpy, David R.
Pennsylvania State University
van der Steen, Jozef J M
Wageningen University & Research Centre (Wageningen UR)
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UKÄ Subject classification

Other Veterinary Science

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