A multiscale review of behavioral variation in collective foraging behavior in honey bees

Natalie J. Lemanski, Chelsea N. Cook, Brian H. Smith, Noa Pinter-Wollman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The emergence of collective behavior from local interactions is a widespread phenomenon in social groups. Previous models of collective behavior have largely overlooked the impact of variation among individuals within the group on collective dynamics. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) provide an excellent model system for exploring the role of individual differences in collective behavior due to their high levels of individual variation and experimental tractability. In this review, we explore the causes and consequences of individual variation in behavior for honey bee foraging across multiple scales of organization. We summarize what is currently known about the genetic, developmental, and neurophysiological causes of individual differences in learning and memory among honey bees, as well as the consequences of this variation for collective foraging behavior and colony fitness. We conclude with suggesting promising future directions for exploration of the genetic and physiological underpinnings of individual differences in behavior in this model system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number370
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Apis mellifera
  • Collective behavior
  • Foraging
  • Honey bees
  • Individual variation
  • Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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