Making Good Choices With Variable Information: A Stochastic Model For Nest-Site Selection By Honeybees, Biol. Lett.
A density-dependent Markov process model is constructed for information transfer among scouts during nest-site selection by honeybees (Apis mellifera). The effects of site quality, competition between sites and delays in site discovery are investigated. The model predicts that bees choose the better of two sites more reliably when both sites are of low quality than when both sites are of high quality and that delay in finding a second site has most effect on the final choice when both sites are of high quality. The model suggests that stochastic effects in honeybee nest-site selection confer no advantage on the swarm.