12.4.5. Parameters of foraging flight

Multiple parameters of a foraging flight can be measured from individual bees when the scanners are positioned at the hive entrance and at the feeder compartment. In order to leave the hive for a foraging flight, a tagged bee has to pass the scanner at the hive entrance in an outward bound direction (Fig. 28, point "A"). After departure, the bees either forage from the artificial feeder or choose a random honey flow source (not shown in Fig. 28) around the perimeter of the hive. When the tagged bees chose to forage from the feeder, they pass the scanner at the feeder compartment entrance (Fig. 28, point "B"). This allows the researcher to determine the frequency of feeder visits from passage sequences of "A" followed by "B". Additionally, the time elapsed from leaving "A" to reaching "B" gives a measure of the flight time to the feeder. The time between "B" and "C" is a measure of the time a given bee spent at the feeder. Finally, the time interval between "C" and "D" yields a measure of the duration of the homing flight. The total time needed for a complete foraging flight is then given by the time between "A" and "D", while the time spent inside the hive between flights is given by the interval between "D" and "A". Finally, failures to return are determined if no "D" registration follows "C". Foraging flights to food source other than the artificial feeder show no "B" and "C" registrations between "A" and "D".

Fig. 28. Schematic drawing of the various parameters that can be obtained from an RFID feeder training experiment. See text for details.

1293PN revised Fig 28