SUN POSITION AS A POSSIBLE FACTOR IN THE DISORIENTATION OF HONEYBEES IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
S C JAY AND D WARR
Rows of honeybee (Apis mellifera) hives were arranged in squares, 5 to a side with their entrances facing outwards (N, S, E, W), in the south temperate zone (at Tauranga, New Zealand, 37° 40'S, 176° 12'E). A significant number of marked bees of various ages moved (drifted) westward from the central hives of northand south-facing rows during January and February 1983 when the zenith angles of the sun were 17°1O'N,210 49'N at solar noon. Marked bees in hives facing east showed a significant tendency to drift northward along the rows by the time they were 17-18 days old. This movement of marked bees was not evident in rows that faced west. These data are compared with those obtained in the north temperate zone (at 49° 38'N, 97° 09'W) and in the tropical zone (at 18° OO'N, 76° 4S'W). It appears that the sun's position, and its apparent movement, influence the direction that most bees drift from their parent hives.