4.3.1. Considerations for choosing to use adult workers of an undefined age for laboratory experiments

Under certain circumstances it is not necessary to collect individuals of a known age. Although there is a tendency due to age polyethism (i.e. temporal division of labour) for young and old workers to be found in the centre or periphery of the broodnest, respectively (Seeley, 1982), or for older workers to perform jobs outside of the hive (Winston, 1987), distribution of age cohorts throughout the colony is dynamic and can be influenced by colonial needs (Calderone, 1995; van der Steen et al., 2012). See Human et al. (2013) for a summary of worker development. We describe here how to sample workers of an undefined age. Under the appropriate conditions (see sections 4.1.9 and 4.1.10) broad functional groups of workers can be collected (e.g. individuals performing tasks in the hive versus those performing tasks outside the hive).

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