The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is a eusocial insect which plays a valuable role within both the agricultural and research sectors. Understanding how the collective behaviour of individual bees is able to result in the functional unit of the colony has been the focus of extensive research over the years. As a model organism, the honeybee has enabled researchers to gain insights into topics as diverse as sociality, learning and memory, epigenetics, and disease.
We have developed a cheap and effective image processing and behavioural analysis pipeline which has enabled us to uniquely mark and track dozens of individual bees within the colony for weeks at a time. Using this new methodology, we will describe some of the insights it has enabled us to derive into queen and worker bee behaviour.