Tracking bees with radar

publication date: Jan 15, 2010
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Bee World Vol.80 (3) 1999 pp.124-131
Article TitleTracking bees with radar

Norman L Carreck; Juliet L Osborne; Elizabeth A Capaldi; Joe R Riley


The flight patterns of bees have been studied for over 100 years, but due to their small size, bees can only be tracked by eye for a very short distance from the nest or hive. Scientists have employed various techniques, including mark-recapture5, feeder experiments26, homing experiments23 and the interpretation of bee dances25, to investigate bee foraging ranges. There is, however, still little detailed information about flight patterns between nest and forage sites, or about the behaviour involved in learning the features of the landscape. The adaptation of radar techniques for use in entomological research, has allowed insect flight paths to be accurately and continuously tracked over much greater distances. This article summarizes the progress made in applying radar to bee studies, and suggests some possibilities for the future.

KeywordsBee Tracking, Radar