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Honeybee lifespan: the critical role of pre-foraging stage

Abstract : Assessing the various anthropogenic pressures imposed on honeybees requires characterizing the patterns and drivers of natural mortality. Using automated lifelong individual monitoring devices, we monitored worker bees in different geographical, seasonal and colony contexts creating a broad range of hive conditions. We measured their life-history traits and notably assessed whether lifespan is influenced by preforaging flight experience. Our results show that the age at the first flight and onset of foraging are critical factors that determine, to a large extent, lifespan. Most importantly, our results indicate that a large proportion (40%) of the bees die during pre-foraging stage, and for those surviving, the elapsed time and flight experience between the first flight and the onset of foraging is of paramount importance to maximize the number of days spent foraging. Once in the foraging stage, individuals experience a constant mortality risk of 9% and 36% per hour of foraging and per foraging day, respectively. In conclusion, the pre-foraging stage during which bees perform orientation flights is a critical driver of bee lifespan. We believe these data on the natural mortality risks in honeybee workers will help assess the impact of anthropogenic pressures on bees.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 4:17:53 PM
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Alberto Prado, Fabrice Requier, Didier Crauser, Yves Le Conte, Vincent Bretagnolle, et al.. Honeybee lifespan: the critical role of pre-foraging stage. Royal Society Open Science, The Royal Society, 2020, 7 (11), pp.200998. ⟨10.1098/rsos.200998⟩. ⟨hal-03002043⟩



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