A quantitative model of honey bee colony population dynamics

David S. Khoury, Mary R. Myerscough, Andrew B. Barron

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    161 Citations (Scopus)
    105 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Since 2006 the rate of honey bee colony failure has increased significantly. As an aid to testing hypotheses for the causes of colony failure we have developed a compartment model of honey bee colony population dynamics to explore the impact of different death rates of forager bees on colony growth and development. The model predicts a critical threshold forager death rate beneath which colonies regulate a stable population size. If death rates are sustained higher than this threshold rapid population decline is predicted and colony failure is inevitable. The model also predicts that high forager death rates draw hive bees into the foraging population at much younger ages than normal, which acts to accelerate colony failure. The model suggests that colony failure can be understood in terms of observed principles of honey bee population dynamics, and provides a theoretical framework for experimental investigation of the problem.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere18491
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume6
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2011. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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