Article: article from journal or magazin.
Automated computer-based detection of encounter behaviours in groups of honeybees.
Honeybees form societies in which thousands of members integrate their behaviours to act as a single functional unit. We have little knowledge on how the collaborative features are regulated by workers' activities because we lack methods that enable collection of simultaneous and continuous behavioural information for each worker bee. In this study, we introduce the Bee Behavioral Annotation System (BBAS), which enables the automated detection of bees' behaviours in small observation hives. Continuous information on position and orientation were obtained by marking worker bees with 2D barcodes in a small observation hive. We computed behavioural and social features from the tracking information to train a behaviour classifier for encounter behaviours (interaction of workers via antennation) using a machine learning-based system. The classifier correctly detected 93% of the encounter behaviours in a group of bees, whereas 13% of the falsely classified behaviours were unrelated to encounter behaviours. The possibility of building accurate classifiers for automatically annotating behaviours may allow for the examination of individual behaviours of worker bees in the social environments of small observation hives. We envisage that BBAS will be a powerful tool for detecting the effects of experimental manipulation of social attributes and sub-lethal effects of pesticides on behaviour.
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