GeoDanceHive: An Operational Hive for Honeybees Dances Recording

Animals (Basel). 2023 Mar 28;13(7):1182. doi: 10.3390/ani13071182.


Honeybees are known for their ability to communicate about resources in their environment. They inform the other foragers by performing specific dance sequences according to the spatial characteristics of the resource. The purpose of our study is to provide a new tool for honeybees dances recording, usable in the field, in a practical and fully automated way, without condemning the harvest of honey. We designed and equipped an outdoor prototype of a production hive, later called "GeoDanceHive", allowing the continuous recording of honeybees' behavior such as dances and their analysis. The GeoDanceHive is divided into two sections, one for the colony and the other serving as a recording studio. The time record of dances can be set up from minutes to several months. To validate the encoding and sampling quality, we used an artificial feeder and visual decoding to generate maps with the vector endpoints deduced from the dance information. The use of the GeoDanceHive is designed for a wide range of users, who can meet different objectives, such as researchers or professional beekeepers. Thus, our hive is a powerful tool for honeybees studies in the field and could highly contribute to facilitating new research approaches and a better understanding landscape ecology of key pollinators.

Keywords: animal communication; automation; behaviour; foraging; honeybee; waggle dance.