Data from: Do small swarms have an advantage when house hunting? The effect of swarm size on nest-site selection by Apis mellifera
Schaerf, Timothy M., University of Sydney
Makinson, James C., University of Sydney
Myerscough, Mary R., University of Sydney
Beekman, Madeleine, University of Sydney
Published Jul 31, 2013 on Dryad.
Cite this dataset
Schaerf, Timothy M.; Makinson, James C.; Myerscough, Mary R.; Beekman, Madeleine (2013). Data from: Do small swarms have an advantage when house hunting? The effect of swarm size on nest-site selection by Apis mellifera [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b6091
Reproductive swarms of honeybees are faced with the problem of finding a good site to establish a new colony. We examined the potential effects of swarm size on the quality of nest-site choice through a combination of modelling and field experiments. We used an individual-based model to examine the effects of swarm size on decision accuracy under the assumption that the number of bees actively involved in the decision-making process (scouts) is an increasing function of swarm size. We found that the ability of a swarm to choose the best of two nest sites decreases as swarm size increases when there is some time-lag between discovering the sites, consistent with Janson & Beekman (Janson & Beekman 2007 Proceedings of European Conference on Complex Systems, pp. 204–211.). However, when simulated swarms were faced with a realistic problem of choosing between many nest sites discoverable at all times, larger swarms were more accurate in their decisions than smaller swarms owing to their ability to discover nest sites more rapidly. Our experimental fieldwork showed that large swarms invest a larger number of scouts into the decision-making process than smaller swarms. Preliminary analysis of waggle dances from experimental swarms also suggested that large swarms could indeed discover and advertise nest sites at a faster rate than small swarms.
Experimental and simulation data of nest-site selection by Apis mellifera
This zip folder contains three major sub-folders with experimental and simulation data from our study. The folder "RateofNewDancers" contains a summary spreadsheet of our field observations of new dancers appearing on the surface of 8 small and 8 large artificial swarms of Apis mellifera, along with reduced data and the MATLAB code we used for analysis. Swarm experiments were performed between the 28th of September 2009 and the 20th of January 2010 at the University of Sydney's Crommelin Field Station, Pearl Beach, New South Wales, Australia (Latitude: 33.55 degrees South, Longitude: 151.30 degrees East). The folder "VideoAnalysisofWaggleDances" contains the raw data files generated by our MATLAB programme to aid in the analysis of waggle dances on two small and one large experimental swarm. Also provided in "VideoAnalysisofWaggleDances" are MATLAB files to analyse the distinct sites danced for by bees in each of the three swarms. "ExampleSimulationCodesandData" contains the MATLAB codes used to perform all the individual-based simulations described in our main manuscript and sections S5-S7 of our online supplementary material. Also contained in "ExampleSimulationCodesandData" is the output data from all the simulations and the MATLAB codes used to analyse that data.