Changes in the electrostatic field signals in honeybee colonies
This project refers to the findings of Greggers et al. 2013 that honeybees emit and perceive electrostatic fields which result from electrostatic charging during flight. The project can be split in two subjects: The basic research of the change in the signals according to pesticide treatment and field work with cooperating beekeepers to compare new findings with the signals of honeybee colonies in different states and in different surroundings (Bienen als Umweltspäher).
The search for socially relevant signals with custom made programs and focus mainly on those resulting from waggle dances, stop signals and fanning behavior. The automatic detection shall be possible in real time allowing me to detect any change of the state of the colony without disturbing the bees. Up to now stop signals and fanning can be detected pretty reliably but the detection of dances needs to be improved. Besides improvements of the running system the next important step will be to introduce different kinds of sensors inside and outside the bee colony in order to further analyze the sources of changes of the electrostatic fields inside the colony and to establish a bee hive system which allows beekeepers to work with the system under normal conditions the whole year round.