A model for intracolonial population dynamics of the honeybee in temperate zones
Stig W. Omholt
A simple system of differential equations is presented to simulate the intracolonial population dynamics of non-swarming colonies of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) in temperate zones. The model generates colony growth patterns that are in agreement with empirical data. A new hypothesis based on the model is proposed to explain the occurrence of the brood-rearing peaks in non-swarming colonies. It focuses on the importance of the initiation of swarming behavioural patterns when the population density of workers exceeds a critical number. A sensitivity analysis of the model revealed considerable variation among the different parameters integrated in the model with regard to influence on colony dynamics. The information potential in a dynamic model of this kind is discussed.
intracolonial population dynamics, honeybee, temperate zones,