10.3.2 Food source location

To estimate the location of the food source, video tape the in-hive behaviour of the bees returning from the outside, some of them are successful foragers.

1. Focus on the waggle-run phase of each dancer, i.e., the part of the dance display during which the incoming foraging bee moves its body laterally while running straight forward on the comb.

2. Estimate the distance to the food source by calculating the average time taken in consecutive dancing bouts (waggle runs) in an uninterrupted dance sequence.

3. Once calculated, compare this average with the values corresponding to a calibration curve in which the mean time of the successive waggle-runs is represented against the distance to the food source. You can build your own calibration curve by measuring the length of the waggle-runs for bees trained at feeders located at different distances, while maintaining a constant direction of the food source.

Alternatively, use the calibration curve presented in von Frisch’s book (1967), which allows for fairly good predictions on distances to unknown feeding sites to be made

However, slight deviations are possible, mainly among different honey bee races (von Frisch 1967).