Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

RFID Technology Serving Honey Bee Research: A Comprehensive Description of a 32-Antenna System to Study Honey Bee and Queen Behavior

Version 1 : Received: 2 October 2021 / Approved: 4 October 2021 / Online: 4 October 2021 (12:18:36 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 9 November 2021 / Approved: 10 November 2021 / Online: 10 November 2021 (08:44:00 CET)

How to cite: Alburaki, M.; Madella, S.; Corona, M. RFID Technology Serving Honey Bee Research: A Comprehensive Description of a 32-Antenna System to Study Honey Bee and Queen Behavior. Preprints 2021, 2021100054 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0054.v2). Alburaki, M.; Madella, S.; Corona, M. RFID Technology Serving Honey Bee Research: A Comprehensive Description of a 32-Antenna System to Study Honey Bee and Queen Behavior. Preprints 2021, 2021100054 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0054.v2).

Abstract

The fields of electronics and information technology have witnessed rapid development during the last decades, providing significant technical support to the field of biological sciences. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been used to automate the monitoring of animal location and behaviors in a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate species, including social insects such as ants and honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) This technology relies on electromagnetic fields to identify and track transponders attached to objects automatically. Implementing new technologies to serve research purposes could be time-consuming and require technical expertise from entomologists and researchers. Herein, we present a detailed description on how to harness RFID technology to serve honey bee research effectively. We describe how to build and operate a 32-antenna RFID system used to monitor various honey bee behaviors such as foraging, robbing, queen and drone mating, which can be used in other social insects as well. Preliminary data related to queen nuptial flights were obtained using this unit and presented in this study. Virgin queens labeled with ~5mg transponders performed multiple (1-4) nuptial/orientation flights a day (9 am to 5 pm) ranging from 8 to 145 seconds each. Contrary to virgin queens, no hive exit was recorded for mated-queens. At full capacity, this unit can monitor up to 32 honey bee colonies concurrently and is self-sustained by a solar panel to work in remote areas. All materials, hardware and software needed to build and operate this unit are detailed in this study, offering researchers and beekeepers a practical solution and a comprehensive source of information enabling the implementation of RFID technology in their research perspective.

Keywords

RFID; honey bee behavior; queen tracking; foraging activity; transponder

Subject

BIOLOGY, Entomology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 10 November 2021
Commenter: Mohamed Alburaki
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: 1- Modified some figures and their contents.
2- Incororation of new references and Improvment of the discussion 
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