A comparison of two assays to test the defensive behaviour of honey bees (Apis mellifera)
Ernesto Guzmán-Novoa; Robert E Page Jr; Hayward G Spangler; Eric H Erickson Jr
The reliability of a traditional leather-patch assay to measure the stinging behaviour of honey bees was compared with that of a temper detection apparatus developed to electronically measure and record defensiveness. Colonies were tested with the two different assays during morning and afternoon hours. The traditional assay was more reliable than the automated electronic assay. Afternoon trials were more reliable than morning trials. Significant variation was observed among colonies with both methods, suggesting that these assays may separate highly defensive from gentle colonies. However, variation among trials within colonies may result in misclassifying colonies with intermediate degrees of defensiveness. The need for the development of more reliable assays is stressed.