4.3.4. Future research needs and perspectives

  1. The set of linked markers described in Table 15 might not prove useful for some honey bee populations because of misamplifications or low polymorphism. Additional genetic markers should be identified and tested to create a larger set of tightly linked markers located on different chromosomes.
  2. A model accounting for a variable drone production per colony might increase accuracy of the method based on genetic markers.
  3. Further studies on the mating area of drones and queens in different regions and populations might also increase accuracy of the method based on genetic markers.
  4. The method based on genetic tools should be calibrated against populations of known absolute density.
  5. One needs to determine the number of stations that should be deployed per unit area before a site can be considered ‘adequately represented’. For example, determining an index for colony density with 10 feeding stations on a 10,000 hectare area hardly seems accurate.
  6. Because honey bees can forage 4-6 km from the nest (Winston 1987), the distance between feeding stations necessary to limit the chances of one colony going to more than one site needs to be determined.
  7. The accuracy of the indices should be confirmed by comparing the results from the indices to the actual colony density in an area (determined by methodical search and location of wild colonies in a landscape) and to other published colony density estimation methods (Oldroyd et al., 1997; Baum et al., 2005; Moritz et al., 2008; Jaffé et al., 2009a).
  8. Reliability – Vaudo et al. (2012b) suggest that the field and photograph ratings provide more reliable indices than counting the number of bee lines, though this assumption needs to be validated.