A detailed technical description of a flight and rearing room for bees is provided, highlighting improvements made relative to other facilities. A primary innovation was the development of a draft-free air handling system capable of circulating large volumes of air with high rates of fresh air exchange and continuous electrostatic cleaning. This design has lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of air recirculated in the flight room, and has prevented the recurrence of asthmatic symptoms in researchers to bee-produced aeroallergens. Other improvements include the incorporation of high-frequency fluorescent lamp ballasts and the choice of lamp types that provide a greater proportion of long-wavelength energy. Improvements in control system technology also have permitted more precise regulation of environmental conditions and the maintenance of a simulated diurnal cycle. Honey bees foraged in a manner similar to outdoor conditions and were free of behaviors associated with design problems seen in earlier flight rooms. Observations on bee behavior and colony performance are provided, and the utility of studying chemically based foraging attractants indoors is discussed.
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Vol. 94 • No. 4