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Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley

Honeybee Democracy (2010)

by Thomas D. Seeley

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1706107,766 (4.05)4
"Honeybees make decisions collectively---and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, Honeybee Democracy brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley's pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees." "In the late spring and early summer, as a bee colony becomes overcrowded, a third of the hive stays behind and rears a new queen, while a swarm of thousands departs with the old queen to produce a daughter colony. Seeley describes how these bees evaluate potential nest sites, advertise their discoveries to one another, engage in open deliberation, choose a final site, and navigate together---as a swirling cloud of bees---to their new home. Seeley investigates how evolution has honed the decision-making methods of honeybees over millions of years, and he considers similarities between the ways that bee swarms and primate brains process information. He concludes that what works well for bees can also work well for people: any decision-making group should consist of individuals with shared interests and mutual respect, a leader's influence should be minimized, debate should be relied upon, diverse solutions should be sought, and the majority should be counted on for a dependable resolution." "An impressive exploration of animal behavior, Honeybee Democracy shows that decision-making groups, whether honeybee or human, can be smarter than even the smartest individuals in them."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)



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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Life in honeybee colony, thermo-regulation, scout bees, building consensus, swarming, role of queen, colony decision forming, choosing a new home, behaviour and roles of colony members. A large, well-illustrated book by a beekeeper who is professor of biology. Detailed but fascinating description of how the colony organises irself. ( )
  EBKA-Braintree | Nov 27, 2015 |
Heard about on NPR. ( )
  clifforddham | Jun 25, 2015 |
A good read for those that are into honeybee research. The study of how a swarm chooses a permanent home was detailed and well done. Research of this topic began around 1930. The latest development of outfitting bees with GPS devices is an awesome breakthrough and I will be looking forward to a book revealing the latest research. Seeley's contention that honeybees choose their new home by a process similar to a New England Town Meeting is a stretch. Approximately 100 scout bees make the decision on behalf of 4,000 hive members. That's a far cry from my idea of democracy. I would say that the bees operate more in the realm of a socialist/ communal society, where there is a complete sharing of food and each member functions totally for the survival of the group. ( )
  Betty.Ann.Beam | Jun 24, 2014 |
Evidence is clearly presented through diagrams showing how the 'thinking' of swarms takes place. We have much to learn from bees, and this has inspired me to write the second novel in the Buffalo Future series. I admire the dedication and patience in researching Honeybee Democracy. ( )
  Elder_Adok | Mar 2, 2014 |
Fascinating. How bees find a home; how many bees in a swarm devote themselves to scouting, advertising, and guiding; how bees signal, by scent, sight, and behavior. Honey bees are endlessly interesting to me. ( )
  ljhliesl | May 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Beekeepers have long observed, and lamented, the tendency of their hives to swarm in the late spring and early summer.
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