Age-related foraging behaviour in honey bees under artificial conditionsM.H. Pham-Delègue, M. Le Métayer, P. Douault and C. Masson
INRA-CNRS (URA 1190), Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Comparée des Invertébrés, 91440 Bures-sur-Yvette, France
Abstract - The distribution of foraging among 4 worker groups of different ages was observed in a flight room. Foraging was mostly performed by the oldest workers, who came to forage first and were the most numerous. Workers from the other groups visited the feeding station infrequently until the second half of the observation period, then increased their visits. Regardless of their age group, each individual coming to forage performed a constant average level of activity, despite some variability in the individual scores of visits. These experiments stressed a strong intra-age group interaction among a population of potential foragers, and allowed us to record data on both group and individual strategies. In conjunction with studies performed under natural conditions, our experiments conducted under artificial conditions may contribute to the analysis of some basic parameters of foraging behaviour.
Key words: Apis mellifera (ligustica x caucasica) x mellifera / foraging / age effect / division of labour / flight room