6.1. Regulation of biophysical properties within colonies

Honey bees are renowned for cooperatively maintaining nest homeostasis by regulating biophysical properties such as temperature, humidity, and respiratory gases within a colony. In doing so, they create a suitable environment that moderates adverse conditions (Danks, 2002). When maintained in an incubator, however, appropriate conditions must be provided, regardless of if honey bees are kept individually or in small groups. Because biophysical properties, whether in a colony or an incubator, are intimately connected to water loss, researchers must consider not only chamber conditions, but also water availability (i.e. both drinking and vapour water), when maintaining adults in the laboratory. Although honey bees are relatively tolerant to changes in thermal and moisture conditions, it is recommended that adult honey bees be maintained in conditions as close to their natural environment as possible.