4.3.1. Determining a colony density index using feeding stations
It is not known if density indices can be used to provide accurate estimates of the actual number of colonies present, and this should be a subject of future investigation. However, it is believed that the indices are useful for determining relative colony density. The indices rely on approximating the number of forager honey bees that visit established feeding stations spaced throughout a landscape. The indices’ reliability rests on the assumption that colony density is positively correlated with the number of bees visiting the feeding stations. The following method is based on Vaudo et al. (2012a, b).