Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) localize the queen and aggregate into a swarm by forming a collective scenting network to directionally propagate volatile pheromone signals. Previous experiments show the robustness of this communication strategy in the presence of physical obstacles that partially block pheromone flow and the path to the queen. Specifically, there is a delay in the formation of the scenting network and aggregation compared to a simple environment without perturbations. To better understand the effect of obstacles beyond temporal dynamics, we use the experimental results as inspiration to explore how the behavioral parameter space of collective scenting responds to obstacle. We extend an agent-based model previously developed for a simple environment to account for the presence of physical obstacles. We study how individual agents with simple behavioral rules for scenting and following concentration gradients can give rise to collective localization and swarming. We show that the bees are capable of navigating the more complex environment with a physical obstacle to localize the queen and aggregate around her, but their range of behavioral parameters is more limited and less flexible as a result of the spatial density heterogeneity in the bees imposed by the obstacle.

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