This paper uses the Anas [Regional Science and Urban Economics 22 (1992) 243] model
to provide an economic explanation of the cause of honeybee swarming. We assume that a
honeybee is rational in choosing to stay in the old hive or to leave to build a new one.
Rationality here refers to a bee’s behavior to maximize the food (honey) that it can share or
contribute. We show that all bees will live together when the total number of bees is small.
As soon as the total number of bees grows over a threshold, half of the population will
immediately swarm to another hive. Contrary to the traditional wisdom that the queen bee
leads the swarm, our model demonstrates that swarming may be a collective action of the
rational choices of many selﬁsh individual bees.
Regional Science and Urban Economics, 33(5),581-594