Communication Of Distance And Direction In The Dance

The waggle dance of honey bees can be thought of as a miniaturized reenactment of the flight from the hive to the food source (Fig. 1). As the flight distance to the food becomes longer, the duration of the waggle portion of the dance also becomes longer. The angle that a bee flies during the flight to the food, relative to the sun azimuth (the horizontal component of the direction toward the sun), is mirrored in the angle on the comb at which the waggle portion of the dance is performed. If the food is to be found directly toward the sun, a bee will dance straight upward. If the food is directly away from the sun, the bee will dance straight downward. If food is at 35° to the right of the sun, then the dance is performed with the waggle run at 35° to the right of vertical, and so forth. Bees make a transition from round dances for food sources near the nest to waggle dances at greater distance, with the transitional distance varying somewhat between different subspecies of A. mellifera.

While the bee is waggling her abdomen, she also produces bursts of buzzing sound from her wings, which are perceived by dance-following bees with the Johnston's organ at the base of the antennae. Recent work by Wolfgang Kirchner has shown that even the round dance contains directional

In the field On the comb

FIGURE 1 How direction to the food patch is encoded in the honey bee dance language. As a bee flies to flowers in the field (left), she learns the direction to the food patch relative to a reference direction of the sun azimuth (here the food is 115° to the left of the sun). When she dances on the vertical combs of the dark hive (right), she uses the direction upward as a reference and performs the waggling portion of the dance at the same angle, relative to this upward reference, to indicate that the food is to be found relative to the sun direction reference in the field (here, 115° to the left of upward). Dancing bees produce buzzing sounds during the waggle portion of the dance. In the round dance (far right), the dancing bee changes direction more randomly and does not waggle, but does buzz when moving in the direction that would indicate the direction to the food.

FIGURE 1 How direction to the food patch is encoded in the honey bee dance language. As a bee flies to flowers in the field (left), she learns the direction to the food patch relative to a reference direction of the sun azimuth (here the food is 115° to the left of the sun). When she dances on the vertical combs of the dark hive (right), she uses the direction upward as a reference and performs the waggling portion of the dance at the same angle, relative to this upward reference, to indicate that the food is to be found relative to the sun direction reference in the field (here, 115° to the left of upward). Dancing bees produce buzzing sounds during the waggle portion of the dance. In the round dance (far right), the dancing bee changes direction more randomly and does not waggle, but does buzz when moving in the direction that would indicate the direction to the food.

information, because these sounds are produced at the time in the round dance at which the circling bee is facing in the direction on the comb in which waggle runs would be performed for more distant food sources in the same direction. However, recruit bees seem to search the vicinity of the nest equally in all directions in response to round dances. This scatter in search area, however, is not really greater than the area searched at greater distances, though because of its proximity to the nest it includes all angles, whereas more distant searches are mostly within a restricted range of angles. Thus it is uncertain whether recruit bees can perceive the direction information in round dances.

Bee Keeping

Bee Keeping

Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?

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