Honey bees are predisposed to win-shift but can learn to win-stay

The ability of honey bees, Apis mellifra, to avoid returns to locations recently depleted of sugar solution (win-shift) or to return to locations recently depleted of sugar solution (win-stay) was tested. Bees collected sugar solution from a small matrix of six cells. During each of a series of trials, they first visited a randomly ‘determined set of three cells. They were then allowed to freely choose between the six cells, with the contingencies encouraging either win-shift or win-stay behaviour. Previous research indicates that honey bees use spatial workin’g memory to discriminate previously visited cells from unvisited cells in this experimental preparation (Brown & Demas 1994, J. camp. Psychol., 108, 344352). In the present experiment, bees in the win-shift condition tended to choose previously unvisited cells throughout the experiment. Bees in the win-stay condition learned to choose previously visited cells over the course of the experiment. These results indicate that bees choose locations based on previous visits, either being attracted to, or repelled from, locations recently depleted of forage.

Main Author: Demas, Gregory
Other Authors: Brown, Michael
Language: English
Published: 1995
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:175046