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In this website, we will investigate the feeding habits of bees.

Bees are interested in collecting nectar from flowers. A flower only has a finite amount of nectar, and bees must visit more than one flower to collect enough nectar over the course of a day. Moreover, the more nectar a bee collects from a particular flower, the harder it gets to collect more nectar form that same flower. At some point, it will be better for the bee to abandon that flower, fly to a new one, and start collecting nectar from new flower. Right away, we can ask the following questions: How long should a bee stay at a flower before she moves on to the next? Is there an optimal amount of time that a bee should spend at a flower before she leaves? What happens if she stays too long? What happens if she leaves too early?

To answer these questions, we will use Calculus, and see how concepts such as the derivative and the First Derivative Test are especially useful.


This module was written by Gerda de Vries and Cole Zmurchok for CRYSTAL-Alberta.

Content adapted from Modeling the Dynamics of Life, by F.R. Adler, Brooks/Cole, 1998, and Optima for Animals, by R. McNeill Alexander, Edward Arnold, 1982.