Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 253–259

Division of labor between scouts and recruits in honeybee foraging

  • Thomas D. Seeley

DOI: 10.1007/BF00290778

Cite this article as:
Seeley, T.D. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1983) 12: 253. doi:10.1007/BF00290778


The proportion of a honeybee colony's foragers which locate forage patches by independent scouting, as opposed to following recruitment dances, varies between about 5 and 35%, depending on forage availability. Experienced foragers scout more than do novice foragers. The cost of finding a forage patch is greater for recruits than scouts, but the patches found by recruits are evidently superior to those found by scouts. The honeybee's combined system of recruitment communication, scout-recruit division of labor, and selectivity in recruitment, apparently enhances a colony's overall foraging efficiency by guiding a large majority of a colony's foragers to good forage patches.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Seeley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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