13.3.2. Monitoring individual flight behaviour

For data collection of individual flight behaviour individual number or colour tags (see section 2.3.) or small transponders for RFID recognition (see section 11.) can be glued to the dorsal side of the thorax of queens and drones. Monitoring individual flight duration further allows for differentiating between orientation flights or cleansing flights (duration less than 10 min) and mating flights (duration longer than 10 min).

It is useful to use a flat transparent tunnel at the hive entrance to simplify reading the labels of the drones. The height should be 1 cm at maximum, so that each drone can be detected. The width depends on the type of the hive. The depth should range between 5 cm to 10 cm, depending on the strength of the colony. The RFID technique (see section 11.) is more useful than personal observation for long-term data such as total daily flight duration, total lifetime flight duration or influence of age on flight behaviour in drones.