Special Issue "Honey Bee Behavior"

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A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans

Department of Biology and Animal Behavior Program, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 570-577-3822
Interests: honey bee behavior; learning; spatial memory; orientation; navigation; viral disease effects on behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Honey bees, Apis mellifera L., live in a structured insect society, headed by a female monarch with a highly organized, yet flexible work force. The colony can both aggressively defend itself and effectively harvest nearby natural resources for it's long term survival. Individual bees function not as automatons, but rather as problem solvers for the group. Across multiple levels of biological organization, the honey bee has fascinated both naturalists and philosophers, psychologists and biologists; from genes to physiology to behavior to ecology, honey bees serve as a model organism. In this Special Issues of the journal Insects, we unite scholars using multiple perspectives to understand the honey bee and its contributions to modern science.

Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Color Difference and Memory Recall in Free-Flying Honeybees: Forget the Hard Problem
Insects 2014, 5(3), 629-638; doi:10.3390/insects5030629
Received: 13 February 2014 / Revised: 20 July 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 30 July 2014
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Abstract
Free-flying honeybees acquire color information differently depending upon whether a target color is learnt in isolation (absolute conditioning), or in relation to a perceptually similar color (differential conditioning). Absolute conditioning allows for rapid learning, but color discrimination is coarse. Differential conditioning requires more
[...] Read more.
Free-flying honeybees acquire color information differently depending upon whether a target color is learnt in isolation (absolute conditioning), or in relation to a perceptually similar color (differential conditioning). Absolute conditioning allows for rapid learning, but color discrimination is coarse. Differential conditioning requires more learning trials, but enables fine discriminations. Currently it is unknown whether differential conditioning to similar colors in honeybees forms a long-term memory, and the stability of memory in a biologically relevant scenario considering similar or saliently different color stimuli. Individual free-flying honeybees (N = 6) were trained to similar color stimuli separated by 0.06 hexagon units for 60 trials and mean accuracy was 81.7% ± 12.2% s.d. Bees retested on subsequent days showed a reduction in the number of correct choices with increasing time from the initial training, and for four of the bees this reduction was significant from chance expectation considering binomially distributed logistic regression models. In contrast, an independent group of 6 bees trained to saliently different colors (>0.14 hexagon units) did not experience any decay in memory retention with increasing time. This suggests that whilst the bees’ visual system can permit fine discriminations, flowers producing saliently different colors are more easily remembered by foraging bees over several days. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Observation of the Mating Behavior of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L.) Queens Using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): Factors Influencing the Duration and Frequency of Nuptial Flights
Insects 2014, 5(3), 513-527; doi:10.3390/insects5030513
Received: 17 December 2013 / Revised: 16 April 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We used radio-frequency identification (RFID) to record the duration and frequency of nuptial flights of honey bee queens (Apis mellifera carnica) at two mainland mating apiaries. We investigated the effect of a number of factors on flight duration and frequency: mating
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We used radio-frequency identification (RFID) to record the duration and frequency of nuptial flights of honey bee queens (Apis mellifera carnica) at two mainland mating apiaries. We investigated the effect of a number of factors on flight duration and frequency: mating apiary, number of drone colonies, queen’s age and temperature. We found significant differences between the two locations concerning the number of flights on the first three days. We also observed an effect of the ambient temperature, with queens flying less often but longer at high temperatures compared to lower temperatures. Increasing the number of drone colonies from 33 to 80 colonies had no effect on the duration or on the frequency of nuptial flights. Since our results agree well with the results of previous studies, we suggest RFID as an appropriate tool to investigate the mating behavior of honey bee queens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Honey Bee Location- and Time-Linked Memory Use in Novel Foraging Situations: Floral Color Dependency
Insects 2014, 5(1), 243-269; doi:10.3390/insects5010243
Received: 30 October 2013 / Revised: 17 January 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2014 / Published: 14 February 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (635 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Learning facilitates behavioral plasticity, leading to higher success rates when foraging. However, memory is of decreasing value with changes brought about by moving to novel resource locations or activity at different times of the day. These premises suggest a foraging model with location-
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Learning facilitates behavioral plasticity, leading to higher success rates when foraging. However, memory is of decreasing value with changes brought about by moving to novel resource locations or activity at different times of the day. These premises suggest a foraging model with location- and time-linked memory. Thus, each problem is novel, and selection should favor a maximum likelihood approach to achieve energy maximization results. Alternatively, information is potentially always applicable. This premise suggests a different foraging model, one where initial decisions should be based on previous learning regardless of the foraging site or time. Under this second model, no problem is considered novel, and selection should favor a Bayesian or pseudo-Bayesian approach to achieve energy maximization results. We tested these two models by offering honey bees a learning situation at one location in the morning, where nectar rewards differed between flower colors, and examined their behavior at a second location in the afternoon where rewards did not differ between flower colors. Both blue-yellow and blue-white dimorphic flower patches were used. Information learned in the morning was clearly used in the afternoon at a new foraging site. Memory was not location-time restricted in terms of use when visiting either flower color dimorphism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle The First Order Transfer Function in the Analysis of Agrochemical Data in Honey Bees (Apis Mellifera L.): Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER) Studies
Insects 2014, 5(1), 167-198; doi:10.3390/insects5010167
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (292 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper describes a mathematical model of the learning process suitable for studies of conditioning using the proboscis extension reflex (PER) in honey bees when bees are exposed to agrochemicals. Although procedural variations exist in the way laboratories use the PER paradigm, proboscis
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This paper describes a mathematical model of the learning process suitable for studies of conditioning using the proboscis extension reflex (PER) in honey bees when bees are exposed to agrochemicals. Although procedural variations exist in the way laboratories use the PER paradigm, proboscis conditioning is widely used to investigate the influence of pesticides and repellents on honey bee learning. Despite the availability of several mathematical models of the learning process, no attempts have been made to apply a mathematical model to the learning curve in honey bees exposed to agrochemicals. Our model is based on the standard transfer function in the form Y=B3 e-B2 (X-1) +B4(1-e-B2 (X-1)) where X is the trial number, Y is the proportion of correct responses, B2 is the learning rate, B3 is readiness to learn, and B4 is ability to learn. We reanalyze previously published data on the effect of several classes of agrochemicals including: (1) those that are considered harmless to bees (e.g., pymetrozine, essential oils, dicofol); (2) sublethal exposure to pesticides known to harm honey bees (e.g., coumaphos, cyfluthrin, fluvalinate, permethrin); and (3) putative repellents of honey bees (e.g., butyric acid, citronella). The model revealed additional effects not detected with standard statistical tests of significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Olfactory Stimulus on the Flight Course of a Honeybee, Apis mellifera, in a Wind Tunnel
Insects 2014, 5(1), 92-104; doi:10.3390/insects5010092
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 21 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (898 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is known that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, uses olfactory stimulus as important information for orienting to food sources. Several studies on olfactory-induced orientation flight have been conducted in wind tunnels and in the field. From these studies, optical sensing is used
[...] Read more.
It is known that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, uses olfactory stimulus as important information for orienting to food sources. Several studies on olfactory-induced orientation flight have been conducted in wind tunnels and in the field. From these studies, optical sensing is used as the main information with the addition of olfactory signals and the navigational course followed by these sensory information. However, it is not clear how olfactory information is reflected in the navigation of flight. In this study, we analyzed the detailed properties of flight when oriented to an odor source in a wind tunnel. We recorded flying bees with a video camera to analyze the flight area, speed, angular velocity and trajectory. After bees were trained to be attracted to a feeder, the flight trajectories with or without the olfactory stimulus located upwind of the feeder were compared. The results showed that honeybees flew back and forth in the proximity of the odor source, and the search range corresponded approximately to the odor spread area. It was also shown that the angular velocity was different inside and outside the odor spread area, and trajectories tended to be bent or curved just outside the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Honey Bees Inspired Optimization Method: The Bees Algorithm
Insects 2013, 4(4), 646-662; doi:10.3390/insects4040646
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 2 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 6 November 2013
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (397 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Optimization algorithms are search methods where the goal is to find an optimal solution to a problem, in order to satisfy one or more objective functions, possibly subject to a set of constraints. Studies of social animals and social insects have resulted in
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Optimization algorithms are search methods where the goal is to find an optimal solution to a problem, in order to satisfy one or more objective functions, possibly subject to a set of constraints. Studies of social animals and social insects have resulted in a number of computational models of swarm intelligence. Within these swarms their collective behavior is usually very complex. The collective behavior of a swarm of social organisms emerges from the behaviors of the individuals of that swarm. Researchers have developed computational optimization methods based on biology such as Genetic Algorithms, Particle Swarm Optimization, and Ant Colony. The aim of this paper is to describe an optimization algorithm called the Bees Algorithm, inspired from the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, to find the optimal solution. The algorithm performs both an exploitative neighborhood search combined with random explorative search. In this paper, after an explanation of the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, the basic Bees Algorithm and its improved versions are described and are implemented in order to optimize several benchmark functions, and the results are compared with those obtained with different optimization algorithms. The results show that the Bees Algorithm offering some advantage over other optimization methods according to the nature of the problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Pollen Elicits Proboscis Extension but Does not Reinforce PER Learning in Honeybees
Insects 2013, 4(4), 542-557; doi:10.3390/insects4040542
Received: 2 July 2013 / Revised: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (428 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The function of pollen as a reward for foraging bees is little understood, though there is evidence to suggest that it can reinforce associations with visual and olfactory floral cues. Foraging bees do not feed on pollen, thus one could argue that it
[...] Read more.
The function of pollen as a reward for foraging bees is little understood, though there is evidence to suggest that it can reinforce associations with visual and olfactory floral cues. Foraging bees do not feed on pollen, thus one could argue that it cannot serve as an appetitive reinforcer in the same way as sucrose. However, ingestion is not a critical parameter for sucrose reinforcement, since olfactory proboscis extension (PER) learning can be conditioned through antennal stimulation only. During pollen collection, the antennae and mouthparts come into contact with pollen, thus it is possible that pollen reinforces associative learning through similar gustatory pathways as sucrose. Here pollen was presented as the unconditioned stimulus (US), either in its natural state or in a 30% pollen-water solution, and was found to elicit proboscis extension following antennal stimulation. Control groups were exposed to either sucrose or a clean sponge as the US, or an unpaired presentation of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and pollen US. Despite steady levels of responding to the US, bees did not learn to associate a neutral odour with the delivery of a pollen reward, thus whilst pollen has a proboscis extension releasing function, it does not reinforce olfactory PER learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)

Review

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Open AccessReview The Bee as a Model to Investigate Brain and Behavioural Asymmetries
Insects 2014, 5(1), 120-138; doi:10.3390/insects5010120
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The honeybee Apis mellifera, with a brain of only 960,000 neurons and the ability to perform sophisticated cognitive tasks, has become an excellent model in life sciences and in particular in cognitive neurosciences. It has been used in our laboratories to investigate
[...] Read more.
The honeybee Apis mellifera, with a brain of only 960,000 neurons and the ability to perform sophisticated cognitive tasks, has become an excellent model in life sciences and in particular in cognitive neurosciences. It has been used in our laboratories to investigate brain and behavioural asymmetries, i.e., the different functional specializations of the right and the left sides of the brain. It is well known that bees can learn to associate an odour stimulus with a sugar reward, as demonstrated by extension of the proboscis when presented with the trained odour in the so-called Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER) paradigm. Bees recall this association better when trained using their right antenna than they do when using their left antenna. They also retrieve short-term memory of this task better when using the right antenna. On the other hand, when tested for long-term memory recall, bees respond better when using their left antenna. Here we review a series of behavioural studies investigating bees’ lateralization, integrated with electrophysiological measurements to study asymmetries of olfactory sensitivity, and discuss the possible evolutionary origins of these asymmetries. We also present morphological data obtained by scanning electron microscopy and two-photon microscopy. Finally, a behavioural study conducted in a social context is summarised, showing that honeybees control context-appropriate social interactions using their right antenna, rather than the left, thus suggesting that lateral biases in behaviour might be associated with requirements of social life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honey Bee Behavior)

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