Tragedy of the commons in Melipona bees

T. Wenseleers , F. L. W. Ratnieks


In human society selfish use of common resources can lead to disaster, a situation known as the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (TOC). Although a TOC is usually prevented by coercion, theory predicts that close kinship ties can also favour reduced exploitation. We test this prediction using data on a TOC occurring in Melipona bee societies.