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Consider two different species of honey bees. If I have to compare the strength of social bonding between the two species i.e. in which species, social bonding between the individuals is stronger than another.

Is there any methodology to do the comparison of the strength of social bonding across the species?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know about bees, but in identified animals such as monkeys or river dolphins, scientists can count how many times two individuals are seen together in the same group. You still can mark individual bees, but that seems a lot tougher to do. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Jul 10 '18 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Rodrigo I suspect it's actually easier to do per individual, you just need to do a lot more individuals... :P $\endgroup$ – arboviral Jul 11 '18 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @arboviral Then you would count how many times each individual is seen alone or with others? Seems easier, but it depends on the definition of "social bonds". $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Jul 11 '18 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Rodrigo yes, I'm not sure how that would work - I mean, all bees regularly visit the hive, so in that sense they're always "with others". But the marking per se wouldn't really be a problem - in fact, it's probably easier than for a lot of other insects just because queen marking is so useful there are commercial products and established techniques for marking individual bees, like numerical labels that glue onto the thorax (mannlakeltd.com/queen-marking-numbers). $\endgroup$ – arboviral Jul 12 '18 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ @arboviral Yes, the problem is to monitor some bees in hives with up to hundreds of thousands of individual bees. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Jul 12 '18 at 15:22

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