A comparison of two assays to test the defensive behaviour of honey bees ((Apis mellifera)

Ernesto Guzmán-Novoa, Robert E. Page, Hayward G. Spangler, Eric H. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The reliability of a traditional leather-patch assay to measure the stinging behaviour of honey bees was compared with that of a temper detection apparatus developed to electronically measure and record defensiveness. Colonies were tested with the two different assays during morning and afternoon hours. The traditional assay was more reliable than the automated electronic assay. Afternoon trials were more reliable than morning trials. Significant variation was observed among colonies with both methods, suggesting that these assays may separate highly defensive from gentle colonies. However, variation among trials within colonies may result in misclassifying colonies with intermediate degrees of defensiveness. The need for the development of more reliable assays is stressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Apicultural Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Africanized honey bees
  • Apis mellifera
  • Assays
  • Colonies
  • Defensive behaviour
  • Mexico
  • Stinging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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