10 Aug Waggle Dance: How Honey Bees Communicate
You’ve probably heard it before: honey bees should not be able to fly according to the laws of aviation. The theory says that their wings are too small and their bodies are too big. Apart from “bee body shaming” this myth is just that — a myth.
If you haven’t noticed, honey bees can fly and scientists know why. So it’s safe to say that’s not a true fact. But one true fact about bees is that they are good dancers. Now there’s something you probably didn’t know. In fact, bees use their rhythmic and musically inclined dance moves to communicate messages.
Honey bees are interesting creatures who have fascinating cultures and modes of communication. As science parses more and more information about the inner workings of species and their relationships with each other, one noted discovery is that of a particular dance that honey bees do called the waggle dance.
What is this dance? Why is it called the waggle dance? Why is the dance so silly looking? Some of these questions have plagued scientists for millennia. And this dance actually serves a purpose.
The Honey Bees Waggle Dance
Here’s how the dance works. A bee flies down into the colony. In order to get their attention before they start their dance, a bee will normally get atop of the bees and start shaking. Consider this part a formal, “Hey, pay attention,” call. Once this particular bee gets the attention of the other bees, the dance begins. The honey bee begins her dance.
The dance is a whole lot of shaking, gyrating, as well as semicircles. Each movement indicates something and is a message that’s being communicated to the other bees.
Why All the Dancing?
This dance, as it turns out, is a way of telling the others bees that this particular dancing bee has discovered a new source of nectar or pollen or river and is, in fact, a detailed map and direction on how to get there. The duration of the waggle tells distance; the angle tells the bees direction. This is all remarkably accurate and can help pinpoint a location up to 3 miles away.