Henry et al. (2012) homing failure formula, assumptions, and basic mathematics: a comment

Guez, David (2013) Henry et al. (2012) homing failure formula, assumptions, and basic mathematics: a comment. Frontiers in Physiology, 4. 142. pp. 1-4.

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[Extract] In March 2012 Henry et al. published a paper that explored whether or not the consumption of thiamethoxam via nectar could be a causal factor of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees. In the first part of their report, Henry et al. (2012) measured the homing success after "ecologically relevant" thiamethoxam exposure and compared it to non-thiamethoxam exposed, control homing rates [see Guez (2013) for a critique of this aspect of their work]. In the second part of their report, they applied their homing study results to the honeybee population dynamic model devised by Khoury et al. (2011), and from that they concluded that dietary thiamethoxam intoxication may potentially contribute to CCD.

Khoury et al.'s (2011) model is build upon the hypothesis that colony failure occurs when bee death rate become unsustainable at the colony level, and the salient assumption that mortality within the hive is negligible. Khoury et al.'s (2011) model allows the evolution of the honeybee hive population to be projected over time. Model outputs are dependent on the total hive population (at the start, and then at any given time), the queen's egg laying rate (L), an eclosion rate that is directly dependent upon the hive population and modulated via the parameter w (the larger w the lower the eclosion rate), and the forager mortality rate or forager homing failure (m). In Khoury et al.'s (2011) model therefore, the population growth of the colony is controlled mainly by the parameters L and w [but see Cresswell and Thompson (2012) for a critique of the choice of w], whereas population decline is dependent on m, the forager mortality rate or forager homing failure.

Item ID: 45740
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1664-042X
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Copyright © 2013 Guez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.


This article was submitted to Frontiers in Invertebrate Physiology, a specialty of Frontiers in Physiology.

Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2016 23:42
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