Foraging reactivation in the honeybee Apis mellifera L.: factors affecting the return to known nectar sources
This paper addresses, what determines that experienced forager honeybees return to places where they have previously exploited nectar. Although there was already some evidence that dance and trophallaxis can cause bees to return to feed, the fraction of unemployed foragers that follow dance or receive food from employed foragers before revisiting the feeder was unknown. We found that 27% of the experienced foragers had no contact with the returning foragers inside the hive. The most common interactions were dance following (64%) and trophallaxis (21%). The great variability found in the amount of interactions suggests that individual bees require different stimulation before changing to the foraging mode. This broad disparity negatively correlated with the number of days after marking at the feeder, a variable that is closely related to the foraging experience, suggesting that a temporal variable might affect the decision-making in reactivated foragers.