A new, practicable and economical cage design for experimental studies on small honey bee colonies [METHODS [amp ] TECHNIQUES]

Carolyn A. Sonter, Romina Rader, and Susan C. Wilson

Bees are in decline globally due to multiple stressors including pests, pathogens and contaminants. The management of bees in enclosures can identify causes of decline under standardized conditions but the logistics of conducting effect studies in typical systems used across several colonies is complex and costly. This study details a practicable, new and economical cage system that effectively houses live honey bee colonies to investigate the impact of physical conditions, biological factors and environmental contaminants on honey bee health. The method has broad application for a range of effect studies concerning honey bee development, physiology, survival and population dynamics because it enables entire colonies to be managed well in captivity, as opposed to individual workers.

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