I have heard that honeybees send out scouts, then based on the scout reports more bees go then come back and report and so they are supposed to be efficient decision makers.

Can you give as complete as possible of a description of how honeybee decision making works with regard to:

  • finding new food/water sources for the hive
  • deciding where to place a new colony
  • how they determine if a big enough predator is around to merit a swarm

If you could point to published material that would also be appreciated.

Some links:

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    $\begingroup$ There's also this: rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1518/755. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Aug 12 '13 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ But, realistically, it seems like this, while interesting, is probably too broad of a question and doesn't have a defined answer. In one sense "as complete as possible of a description" is a model; and as in any model building you're going to have to make a lot of subjective choices about which parameters to include, and then a lot of subjective choices to estimate those parameters based on a fairly broad literature. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Aug 12 '13 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW the query (bee AND (learn* OR decision OR communicat* OR swarm* OR forag*) AND (model* OR experiment* OR field)) in scopus returns 3000+ hits. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Aug 12 '13 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ I was looking for something to the effect of the link you provided. Will try and figure out what SCOPUS is. rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1518/755.full $\endgroup$ – EngrStudent Aug 12 '13 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Scopus is one of the big academic papers repositories – you could use google scholar for similar purposes. When I get time, I'll post links to a few more published papers. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Aug 12 '13 at 6:38