Abstract for: BeeWare! A honeybee colony model - Exploring the mechanisms of early spring colony collapse
About 35% of global crop production is dependent on animal pollination, of which the majority is provided by insects, especially bee species. This is however a fragile system as different environmental factors can dramatically affect the overall dynamics. In this paper I explore the endogenous honeybee work distribution dynamics and their response to external factors such as flight conditions and food availability. With the focus of interest being on the influence of honeybee colony development on fruit production, the simulation covers a 120-day period from the initial post-winter colony development to the pollination periods in spring. The resulting model can realistically reproduce, both healthy population development and common failure modes such as stagnation and collapse. The sensitivity analysis suggests that the overall behavior is strongly dependent on the initial state of the colony as well as forager-bee death-rates. Relevant tipping points have been identified. The model serves as a tool to highlight and visualize the importance of key parameters and shocks on the overall honeybee-colony and pollination performance.