The purpose of this exercise is to show the steps involved in classical conditioning of proboscis extension in restrained honey bees. For detailed instructions and demonstrations appropriate for the classroom see Abramson (Invertebrate learning: A laboratory manual, Published by the American Psychological Association, 1990).

Questions about this experiment can be addressed to:

Dr. Charles I. Abramson
116 N. Murray
Stillwater, Ok 74078
(405) 744-7492
via E-Mail: charles.abramson@okstate.edu

There are six sections to this experiment:

Collecting the Bees
Putting the Bees in tubes
Preparing the scents
Preparing the US
In the Harness
Sample Conditioning Data

Collecting the Bees

Bee hive. It is important to note that those individuals sent to collect the bees be fully protected.
Capturing bees. Stand beside the sill of the hive with an uncapped wide mouth glass vial. Place the mouth of the vial over a forager that is getting ready to fly. Once it is inside the vial, wait for an opportunity to loosely close the vial - do not tighten the lid. Repeat this procedure until you have the required number of bees.
A bee captured inside of a glass vial.
To render the bee unconscious in preparation for harnessing the bee to the conditioning tube place the vial in a bucket of ice. Within 3-4 minutes the bee will be rendered unconscious.
Removing the unconscious bee from the vial.

Putting the Bees in tubes

Materials needed for conditioning including bee tube, CS and US delivery devices, ruler, duct tape.Materials needed for conditioning including bee tube, CS and US delivery devices, ruler, duct tape.
To prepare the bee tube cut a thin piece of duct tape and fasten to the side of the tube.
The tape fastened to the side of the tube.

Harnessing the bee to the tube

Pick up the unconscious bee and place it in the tube in such a way that its head sticks out from one end of the tube. A way to do this is to gently stretch the head over the side of the tube and tape the now exposed "neck" to the tube.


Go to the Next steps.

Preparing the scents
Preparing the US
In the Harness
Sample Conditioning Data


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