August 9, 2016 by jhoffdog
Honeybee Communication – The “Waggle Dance”
Honeybees have specific body movements (“dances”) that they use to convey specific messages to other bees. The most common dance is the “Waggle Dance.” This dance is used to inform other honeybees of the location of a nectar source (a group of flowers). To perform this dance, a bee will waggle her body back and forth very quickly and move forward in a straight line. The direction of this line tells the other bees the direction of the nectar source in relation to the sun. The length of her waggle indicates the distance to the nectar source. At the end of her waggle, she will walk in a half circle back to where she started. During this time, the other bees will use their antennae to “smell” her because she carries the scent of the flowers they need to find. Now the other honeybees know the direction of the nectar source, the distance to it, and the specific flower they are looking for.
While visiting Wyck during HoneyFest on Saturday, September 10, you can think about how bees communicate where to find good nectar sources in our gardens. See you then!