Honey bees use
several different means of communication, with the most popular being dancing.
Honey bees perform a specific dance in order to share the location of a food
supply with the other bees in colony so that they, too, can gather food from that
area. To perform the dance, a bee will walk forward, waggling her body from side
to side. Then, she walks normally in a half circle and starts on the path again, waggling her body. The distance forward that the bee walks, the speed of her
waggling, and the direction she is facing provide incredibly accurate
directions to the other bees, who then go and collect the food. The directions
are based off of the location of the sun, which the bees can sense even inside
the dark hive.
|The Path of a Waggle Dance|
|Bees release pheromones to communicate important information, such as|
if the queen is present in the hive or if there are intruders in the hive. The
other bees respond appropriately to the messages from these pheromones.
Another form of communication is the release of pheromones. Pheromones are distinct smells that the bees release to convey messages. The queen releases a special pheromone that helps the bees sense that she is in the hive and healthy. Worker bees also release pheromones. Guard bees, who protect the beehive from intruders, release a special alarm pheromone whenever there is an invader. This pheromone smells like ripe bananas!
Just as people communicate in different ways, so do honey bees. Communication allows the members of the colony to bond and to help one another, making the entire hive stronger. Communication - whether through speech, sign language, dancing, or pheromones – plays an important role in daily life. How do you communicate?
To see a bee perform a waggle dance, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lhVBNQ-Ik8