Index data

Three types of index data can be collected from bait stations:

  1. Establish the number of bee lines to each station - A beeline is defined as ‘the flight path taken to and from a food source and the colony’ (see section 4.2 on bee lines).
    They can be determined best when a foraging bee is leaving the food because it takes a more direct flight to return to its colony than when landing on the station. Individual stations should be monitored until all beelines are recorded. The working assumption is that more beelines will be formed to a feeding station when more colonies are nesting in an area, though this assumption needs to be verified.
  2. Field rating of bee density on feeding stations – Rate each station on a scale of 0 (no bees foraging) to 3 (‘many’ bees foraging).
    The rating is based on the intensity of the foraging visits on a station. This is a qualitative and subjective rating but it provides a quick index of visiting intensity, working on the assumption that higher field ratings indicate more colonies nesting in the area.
  3. Photograph rating of bee density on feeding stations – Rather than making a subjective rating of foraging intensity at feeding stations, one can take a picture of each feeding station and assign a station rating per the number of bees counted feeding at each station, for example: (0) = zero foraging bees, (1) = 1-50 foraging bees, (2) = 51-200 foraging bees, (3) > 200 foraging bees (Fig. 26). It is assumed that higher ratings indicate more colonies present in the environment.

Fig. 26. Photograph Field Ratings. (A) = Rating 0 (0 foraging bees); (B) = Rating 1 (1-50 foraging bees); (C) = Rating 2 (51-200 foraging bees); (D) = Rating 3 (>200 foraging bees). Photos: A Vaudo.