Anaesthesia considerations

Anaesthetics should be easy to apply, repeatable, cheap, non-hazardous to humans, and have no or limited long-term effects on honey bees. Regardless of method chosen, and because of dose-dependence, all experimental individuals should receive the same dose, exposure length, and frequency of exposure, and methods should be described in full detail. Additionally, recordings of observations, such as honey bee mortality or responsiveness to sucrose, for example, should be delayed at least 1 hour to provide anaesthetised honey bees with a recovery period (Pankiw and Page, 2003). Because honey bee anaesthetising provides a relatively poorly understood sublethal dose of a potentially lethal agent, the benefits of its use for an experiment should be clear. Conflicting data in the scientific literature suggest that carbon dioxide may be a more ideal anaesthetic than chilling, at least until specific methods can be developed for particular experiments that may use differently aged honey bees or need individuals to be sedated for varying lengths of time.