A Model for Colony Collapse Disorder in Honeybees

Christopher Mitchell*, Christopher Kribs-Zaleta


Honeybee pollination accounts annually for over $14 billion in United States agriculture alone. Within the past decade there has been a mysterious mass die-off of honeybees, an estimated 10 million beehives and sometimes as much as 90\% of an apiary. There is still no consensus on what causes this phenomenon, called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Several mathematical models have studied CCD by only focusing on infection dynamics. We created a model to account for both healthy hive dynamics and hive extinction due to CCD. The system of three ordinary differential equations exhibits regions of bi-stability and even tri-stability in parameter space, accounting for multiple hive population behaviors including CCD. Numerical analysis leads to parameter estimation and critical hive sizes for multiple scenarios.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11145/322

ISSN 2367-5233 (print)
ISSN 2367-5241 (online)