4.2.4.2. Tracking the beeline

Once beelines are established at your feeding station, it is now time to follow the beeline toward the honey bee nest. This can be time consuming and require some energy. Be prepared to walk through wild vegetation and traverse difficult terrain. The beeline is very direct, so it will transverse over buildings, dense woods, cliffs, marshes, lakes, etc. One should bring ample water and food to spend the day in the field.

  1. Refill the feeding station so the bees continue to maintain the original beelines prior to moving in the direction of the beeline.
  2. Walk a short distance in the direction determined as that of the bees flying to their colony.
  3. Look for the beeline.
    Bees are recognisable from other insects by their direct line of flight.
  4. If you are correct in locating the beeline and the direction it is heading, continue walking that direction in a straight path. One may not see the beeline any longer while moving away from the feeding station. However, one can reasonably trust that the honey bee nest is in that direction.
  5. Keep track of one’s path with a map or GPS device if there are obstacles that have to be circumvented or scaled. A handheld GPS with a tracking option is useful so that you can visualize your path and return to it if you have to deviate temporarily or return to the feeding station.
  6. If the path is followed directly, one should be lead straight to the location of the colony.
    However, there it is difficult to determine the exact distance between your feeding station and the colony (usually less than a 1km but potentially up to 5km). One could estimate the distance by using the techniques outlined in sections 4.2.6.3 and 4.2.6.4.
  7. Look for the colony nest entrance as you follow the beeline (section 4.2.5).
  8. If you reach an obstacle that prevents travelling further, set up a feeding station and establish a new beeline on the other side of your obstacle. From this point, you can pick up the beeline again and continue your search.

 

The BEEBOOK