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Why Ants Do but Honeybees Do Not Construct Satellite Nests


  • Janet Landa


  • Gordon Tullock



Synopsis: Ants and honeybees are both social insects that share many characteristics in common. But there is a fundamental difference between ants and bees. Ants can and do construct main nests with satellite nests, whereas bees construct only a main nest with no satellite nests. In this paper we explain the difference between the socio-economic organization of ants and bees: ants can identify nest-mates from satellite nests because ants leave odor trails connecting main nests to satellite nests so that fellow nest-mate from satellite nests smell the same. Bees, on the other hand, cannot leave odor trails in the air, and hence are unable to identify bees from another nest; bees from another nest with different pheromone smells are stung to death by guard bees in the main nest. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Landa & Gordon Tullock, 2003. "Why Ants Do but Honeybees Do Not Construct Satellite Nests," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 151-164, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:151-164
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025878432739

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    Cited by:

    1. Janet Landa, 2012. "Gordon Tullock’s contributions to bioeconomics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 203-210, July.
    2. Janet T. Landa, 2016. "“Remembrance of things past”: Gordon Tullock, the man and the bioeconomist," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 129-136, July.
    3. J. Clark & Dwight Lee, 2015. "In remembrance of Gordon Tullock," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 225-227, March.
    4. Eric Nævdal, 2008. "Animal rationality and implications for resource management: the case of biological reserves for moose and pine," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 145-163, August.
    5. William F. Shughart & Robert D. Tollison, 2016. "On the extraordinary scholarly life and times of Gordon Tullock," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 227-247, June.
    6. Alberto Battistini & Ugo Pagano, 2008. "Primates’ fertilization systems and the evolution of the human brain," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, April.


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