Behaviour 2019
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Effects of colony growth and environment on sucrose responsiveness in honeybees
Julia Balogh, Johanna Bock, Bernd Grünewald. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany

The foraging behavior of honeybees (Apis mellifera) depends on weather, ecology and intrinsic factors of the individual. A trait related to foraging decisions is sucrose responsiveness which expresses the probability of the bees’ proboscis extending in response to varying concentrations of sugar. The average sucrose responsiveness of a honeybee colony changes throughout the year. However, it is unknown whether these changes are due to seasonal, ecological, or in-hive conditions. In this study we investigated the development of sucrose responsiveness of honeybee colonies located along environmental gradients, including differing elevations and types of land use, throughout the season. Furthermore, we monitored biotic and abiotic parameters, such as colony growth, flowering vegetation and weather conditions. Our preliminary results aim to provide insights into factors shaping the foraging-related behaviour of honeybees. Furthermore, our findings might help us to anticipate effects of climate and land use changes on their pollination efficiency and colony growth.