Handling of bees

Bee caste, activity level, and personal comfort level will dictate what devices are used to manipulate bees. Most importantly, bees should not be crushed, so particular attention must be placed on ensuring sensitive and more fragile parts of the bee such as the abdomen, antennae, eyes, and mouthparts, are not disturbed or damaged. A honey bee that is damaged or has stung should be replaced.

In most cases, use of anaesthesia to handle honey bees is not required, and generally not recommended because of the difficulty of ensuring a consistent dosage is given to bees and because of possible effects on the behaviour, physiology, and development of insects (Czekonska, 2007; Ribbands, 1950; Rueppell et al., 2010).  If anaesthesia is used, a consistent dosage should be provided to all experimental bees. Further details on handling and anaesthetising bees are provided in the BEEBOOK chapter on miscellaneous methods Human et al. (2013).