4.4.7. Protocol for calibrating dead bees in traps

Before using the selected bee trap, it needs to be calibrated to establish its recovery rate. The following calibration protocol is derived from the work of Gary (1960), Illies et al. (2002) and Hendriksma and Härtel (2010).

  1. Connect the trap to the hive for several days before the experiment begins, to allow the bees becoming accustomed to the new addition.
  2. Collect a known number of bees (e.g. 100) from the colony on which the trap is mounted.
  3. Kill these workers (see section 2.1.3.).
  4. Mark these workers (see the section 2.3. of the BEEBOOK paper on behavioural studies (Scheiner et al., 2013).
  5. Open the hive on which the trap is mounted.
  6. Place the dead workers on top of the frames.
  7. Close the hive.
  8. Record the number of recovered bees every 15 minutes during the first hour, then again after 2, 4, 8 and 24 hours (e.g., 2, 5, 1, 10, 22, 35, 6, 12).
         The efficiency can then be calculated based on 8 data points.
  9. The percentage recovery rate of these marked dead bees is calculated to get an estimate of trapping efficiency.

    Recovery rate = (number of recovered bees / number of dead bees introduced) x 100.

    In our example, recovery rate = (93/100) x 100 = 93%