Forced in-hive nutrition has been used to investigate the distribution of a xenobiotic within the colony (honey bees) and within the hive (beeswax, pollen, honey) and determine the effects of exposure on honey bee colonies and the development of honey bee colonies.
The selection of the conditions to conduct tests with honey bee colonies is driven by the goal of the experiment. When studying pesticides, the exposure – acute or chronic - is the first parameter to determine. Secondly, experimental conditions have to be chosen for the observation of the targeted parameters such as the mortality of honey bees (adults and larvae), the behaviour of honey bees (Scheiner et al., 2013), the presence/absence of bee pests and diseases (see BEEBOOK Volume II, and typical bee disorders (absence of eggs, absence of foraging activity, etc.).
Forced, in-hive nutrition has been used to study veterinary drugs given to colonies (antibiotics and acaricides (Adams et al., 2007)), pesticides used for plant protection (Faucon et al., 2005; Pettis et al., 2012) and the effects of various diets, whether artificial or natural, on colony development (Mattila and Otis, 2006b). The last point does not imply the study of any AI but has generated many publications describing how to artificially feed colonies. These publications also described the parameters observed to assess colony development and some biological traits of honey bees: estimation of the number of populated frames; estimation of the total comb area with sealed brood, open brood (eggs and larvae), stored pollen, or stored honey (see Delaplane et al., 2013b); assessment of worker longevity, monitoring of behaviour –including memory through the use of PER reflex (proboscis-extension response)- and foraging pattern (see Scheiner et al., 2013); measurement of protein content of workers; and the measurement of Nosema spore levels in workers (Mattila and Otis, 2006a; Mattila and Otis, 2006b; Mattila and Otis 2007; DeGrandi-Hoffman et al., 2008; Mattila and Smith 2008; Avni et al., 2009, Fries et al., 2013).