||BEEHAVE: a systems model of honeybee colony dynamics and foraging to explore multifactorial causes of colony failure
||Becher, M.A.; Grimm, V.; Thorbek, P.; Horn, J.; Kennedy, P.J.; Osborne, J.L.
||Journal of Applied Ecology
||Apis mellifera; colony decline; cross-level interactions; feedbacks; foraging; modelling; multiple stressors; multi-agent simulation; predictive systems ecology; Varroa destructor
|UFZ wide themes
- A notable increase in failure of managed European honeybee Apis mellifera
L. colonies has been reported in various regions in recent years.
Although the underlying causes remain unclear, it is likely that a
combination of stressors act together, particularly varroa mites and
other pathogens, forage availability and potentially pesticides. It is
experimentally challenging to address causality at the colony scale when
multiple factors interact. In silico experiments offer a fast
and cost-effective way to begin to address these challenges and inform
experiments. However, none of the published bee models combine colony
dynamics with foraging patterns and varroa dynamics.
- We have
developed a honeybee model, BEEHAVE, which integrates colony dynamics,
population dynamics of the varroa mite, epidemiology of
varroa-transmitted viruses and allows foragers in an agent-based
foraging model to collect food from a representation of a spatially
- We describe the model, which is freely available online (www.beehave-model.net).
Extensive sensitivity analyses and tests illustrate the model's
robustness and realism. Simulation experiments with various combinations
of stressors demonstrate, in simplified landscape settings, the model's
potential: predicting colony dynamics and potential losses with and
without varroa mites under different foraging conditions and under
pesticide application. We also show how mitigation measures can be
- Synthesis and applications. BEEHAVE offers a
valuable tool for researchers to design and focus field experiments, for
regulators to explore the relative importance of stressors to devise
management and policy advice and for beekeepers to understand and
predict varroa dynamics and effects of management interventions. We
expect that scientists and stakeholders will find a variety of
applications for BEEHAVE, stimulating further model development and the
possible inclusion of other stressors of potential importance to
honeybee colony dynamics.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Becher, M.A., Grimm, V., Thorbek, P., Horn, J., Kennedy, P.J., Osborne, J.L. (2014):
BEEHAVE: a systems model of honeybee colony dynamics and foraging to explore multifactorial causes of colony failure
J. Appl. Ecol. 51 (2), 470 - 482