1. General introduction

The honey bee is a powerful model system for dissecting the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying complex behaviours such as learning and memory, navigation or dance communication. In addition, the honey bee has long served as a model for the effective organisation of group living. The huge behavioural repertoire of the honey bee has been explored extensively over the last century. We here have selected a range of standard methods for quantifying the most frequently studied behaviours in honey bee research laboratories world wide. The emphasis lies on methods which can be adopted easily by researchers not specialized in this field. The wide range of behaviours we cover in this article can also be employed to investigate the effects of pesticides, insecticides or pathogens on all areas of honey bee behaviour. We start this chapter with some general methods for preparing bees for behavioural assays and then describe in detail experimental protocols for quantifying sensory responsiveness, learning, locomotion, navigational skills, communication and mating in honey bees.

The BEEBOOK