6.7. Energetics derived from measurement of sugar consumption

Honey bees fuel their flight nearly exclusively with sugars (Rothe and Nachtigall, 1989). This provides the opportunity to calculate flight energy consumption from the determination of sugar consumption (Hrassnigg et al., 2005; Brodschneider et al., 2009; see also the BEEBOOK paper on behavioural methods (Scheiner et al., 2013)). Usually such experiments are performed in tethered flight in a roundabout or in a wind tunnel. While such measurements are very well suited to answer certain questions of energy metabolism, it has always to be kept in mind that tethered flying bees do not bear their own weight. Calculated absolute values of energy turnover are, therefore, not a full representation of a natural flight situation.