Context Presentation

Foraging for food to substantiate one’s needs is of great importance for every species. In the case of bees, who are a social species, only a small selection of individuals has the task to bring the food for the whole colony, and thus has to take into account the needs of the entire population in terms of nutrients. As central place foragers, bees will explore and exploit flowers around their nest, where different species provide bees with different amounts and qualities of nectar. Bees are as a result faced with a complex problem: finding flowers that are not already exploited by other bees, which provide the nutrients in the right amount (either by foraging on a single species of flowers with a balanced diet, or on multiple species with unbalanced but complementary diets), and create a stabilized exploitation route between them. Following each individual bee in its foraging trip has been a technological challenge. However, today, as different tracking technologies (radars, camera tracking) are being developed, assisted with colony monitoring systems (connected hives), we can finally get some insights on these complex behaviors. As data are still scarce and only available in limited, simplified situations, building theoretical models that successfully replicate the spatial strategies of bees will allow us to make predictions on more complex and ecologically relevant scenarios.

Scientific Goals

- Conduct experimental tests for the fundamental hypotheses of the behavior.

- Build a new model based on experimental tests of simple situations and theoretical knowledge of bee foraging behavior.

- Test the model’s predictions in complex environmental situations.


Spatial strategy, foraging behavior, nutritional geometry, connected hive