Honeybee swarming is a very important problem for scientific study and for the economics and practice of apiculture. One interesting aspect of swarming is the exchange of tooting and quacking sounds by queens competing for inheritance of a swarm.
Theoretic al models of aggressive interactions between animals predict that competing individuals should assess:
(1) the value of the resources for which they compete,
(2) the fighting abilities of the opponent and
(3) the costs of the aggressive interaction to their future fitness.
Competition between honeybee queens for inheritance of a swarm provides an excellent opportunity to test these predictions. The aims of this project are to analyse honeybee queen fighting in terms of evolutionary biology, to obtain high-quality empirical data about swarming, and to discover better beekeeping methods to prevent swarming. Theoretical models will be used to predict the behaviour of queens during swarming. The predictions will be verified by observations and experiments, and an electronic device will be built for automatic detection of swarming. The device should improve methods of swarming prevention. The project will allow the researcher to reintegrate with the host institution in Poland.
This will bring long-term job stability and increase the applicant's chance of obtaining a permanent position there. Knowledge the researcher has obtained during training in Western Europe will be transferred to Poland, which has recently joined the European Union. His re integration will expand cooperation between the host institution and social insect laboratories in Europe. Beyond its contribution to scientific understanding of bee behaviour, the project promises to bring economic benefits. Swarming is an important problem of beekeeping, an enterprise, which provides many jobs, supports employment in related sectors, and also plays an essential role in crop pollination.
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