Free access
Volume 33, Number 3, May-June 2002
Page(s) 315 - 326

Apidologie 33 (2002) 315-326
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002014

The influence of different bee traps on undertaking behaviour of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) and development of a new trap

Ingrid Illiesa, b, Werner Mühlena, Gerti Dückerb and Norbert Sachserb

a  Landwirtschaftskammer Westfalen-Lippe, Aufgabengebiet Bienenkunde (Department of Apiculture and Beekeeping), Postfach 5980, 48143 Münster, Germany
b  Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Neuro- und Verhaltensbiologie, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie (Department of Behavioural Biology), 48419 Münster, Germany

(Received 19 August 2001; revised 22 January 2002; accepted 30 January 2002)

In this study the efficiency of bee traps used to evaluate mortality in a bee colony and their influence on undertaking behaviour was tested in twelve colonies of Apis mellifera L. Four types of bee traps (Original-Gary-Trap, a Modified-Gary-Trap, the IPSAB-Trap and the Muenster-Trap), commonly used in practical research, were compared to each other and to control colonies without a trap. The use of different bee traps led to incomparable results. In the Original-Gary-Trap, many stray bees were trapped and eventually died within the glass collecting jars, leading to artificially high estimates of mortality. Bees removed the dead bees from the Modified-Gary-Trap, especially during good flight conditions. Dead bees disappeared from the IPSAB-Trap because of predators and wind. Both Gary-Traps had a negative effect on undertaking behaviour; the number of behavioural components involved in removing a dead bee from the colony was large and thus, undertaking took a long time. In IPSAB-Trap, the undertaker bees showed the same number of behavioural components and took similar times to remove dead bees as the control colonies without traps. The newly developed Muenster-Trap, equipped with an easily accessible hive entrance, a collecting box for dead bees and an outlet for stray bees, gave a significantly improved performance.

Key words: Apis mellifera / undertaking behaviour / bee traps / mortality evaluation

Correspondence and reprints: Ingrid Illies

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2002