Positional communication and private information in honeybee foraging models

Peter Bailis, Radhika Nagpal, Justin Werfel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations


Honeybees coordinate foraging efforts across vast areas through a complex system of advertising and recruitment. One mechanism for coordination is the waggle dance, a movement pattern which carries positional information about food sources. However, recent evidence suggests that recruited foragers may not use the dance's positional information to the degree that has traditionally been believed. We model bee colony foraging to investigate the value of sharing food source position information in different environments. We find that in several environments, relying solely on private information about previously encountered food sources is more efficient than sharing information. Relying on private information leads to a greater diversity of forage sites and can decrease over-harvesting of sources. This is beneficial in environments with small quantities of nectar per flower, but may be detrimental in nectar-rich environments. Efficiency depends on both the environment and a balance between exploiting high-quality food sources and oversubscribing them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSwarm Intelligence - 7th International Conference, ANTS 2010, Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, ANTS 2010 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: Sep 8 2010Sep 10 2010

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6234 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, ANTS 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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