- Place feeding stations along a transect ~2 km from one
another and throughout the study site about 24 h before monitoring.
The reason for the 2 km recommendation stems from the necessity to minimise the possibility that one colony will be attracted to two stations. The 24h give bees time to navigate the unique environmental conditions in an area, find the stations and reach maximum foraging activity prior to station monitoring.
- Bait feeding stations with ~600 ml of a 1:3:3
mixture of honey:water:sugar respectively and by volume; alternatively, pure honey
can be used.
Pure honey is likely more attractive to bees than a mixture with water and sugar. The choice of bait does not compromise the index when all stations are stocked with the same bait. The honey used should be from a single source to control for possible differences in the attractiveness of honey from varied sources. The honey can be irradiated to kill all pathogens and eliminate the risk of disease spread to wild colonies (see the section 7.6. ‘Food sterilization and detoxification’ of the BEEBOOK paper on maintaining adult Apis mellifera in cages under in vitro laboratory conditions (Williams et al., 2013).
- Place sticks, twigs, or other floatation devices on
the bait to provide foraging bees a surface on which to land.
This minimises the chance that bees will drown in the bait.
- Monitor feeding stations at similar weather, time
and season points.
For example (1) only during sunny weather, (2) with little or no wind, and (3) between the hours of 09.00h and 15.00h.
- Visit feeding stations in the order and about the same time that they were erected the day before, thus keeping the time of bee acclamation to stations as close to a standard 24 h time period as possible.
- Refill the stations prior to data collection in
instances where bees removed all of the bait from the feeding stations within
Vaudo et al. (2012b) reported that bees are attracted to reprovisioned stations almost immediately.