Social insect colonies are typically mobile entities, moving nests from one location to another throughout the life of a colony. The majority of social insect species—ants, bees, wasps, and termites—have likely adopted the habit of relocating nests periodically. The syndromes of nest relocation include legionary nomadism, unstable nesting, intrinsic nest relocation, and adventitious nest relocation. The emergence of nest movement is a functional response to a broad range of potential selective forces, including colony growth, competition, foraging efficiency, microclimate, nest deterioration, nest quality, parasitism, predation, and seasonality. Considering the great taxonomic and geographic distribution of nest movements, assumptions regarding the nesting biology of social insects should be reevaluated, including our understanding of population genetics, life-history evolution, and the role of competition in structuring communities.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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