Democracy in a honeybee hive

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Submitted by Mateusz TOKARSKI on

Democracy in a honeybee hive

During the Public Participation and Deliberative Democracy Festival participants in Ispra had a chance to experience how honeybees take decisions and reflect on how this animal model can be applied also in human collective decision-making. 

The Pollinator Ambassadors, founded and led by Nynke Blömer and Nadine Schuller, had the great pleasure to introduce the Festival participants to the inner workings of a honeybee swarm. “The Hive” is an immersive, interactive, and educational experience with the goal to reflect on democracy and collective decision-making. How do honeybees make the perfect decision more than 80% of the time? Can their collaboration be called a democracy, and how could their wisdom be applied in human decision-making?

Mimicking the swarming of a honeybee colony, festival participants found themselves scouting for the best possible honeybee hive and pitching their choice to the group. They had to be quick and observe, think strategically, and share their ideas on time - and they succeeded! Congratulations on their success in effective communication, active listening and enthusiasm for the game!

A lively discussion on the comparison of honeybee and human democracies followed. Diverse interpretations arose of what democracy means, such as representative elements, freedom of speech and information availability. Interestingly, some organisations already apply the principles of honeybee democracy, and a participant representing one of these organisations was able to share the applied use of this knowledge with the others.

If you would like to know more about the game and it's potential you can contact Pollinator Ambassadors via email at

About the Author
This article was written by Nynke Blömer and Nadine Schuller, founders of the "Pollinator Ambassadors" initiative. Pollinator Ambassadors are engaged people, initiatives and businesses in biodiversity protection.