5.4.1. In colony assays
These can be performed in observation hives of various sizes, established for at least 2 weeks prior to experimentation (see the BEEBOOK paper on behavioural studies (Scheiner et al., 2013)). The surrogates can be introduced and removed through portals in the walls situated on either side of the frame.
Pros: This setup almost completely mimics the natural situation. The presence of a large variety of worker bees creates a good chance to record a good response. It is suitable for evaluating changes in queen attractiveness.
Cons: The system is complex, includes a large number of uncontrollable cues changing with time. Moreover, the complexity of such bioassays and its operational cost is high, not only due to the price of the hive itself but all the necessary preparations. The colonies need to be established days in advance, thus making replication difficult and problematic for a routine screening of compounds in question. Behaviour of the bees can be affected by colony and weather conditions.