How Do Honey Bees Communicate?


Most people despise bees. After all, they can leave a nasty sting. Just remember that not all bees are the same. Some will prove to be far more dangerous than others. When it comes to the honey bee, it can be very beneficial for humans. The honey produced can help stimulate the economy. Plus, the honey is delicious. What most people fail to realize is that the honey bee is actually very wise. In fact, honey bees are capable of communicating with one another very effectively. How do they communicate?

Communicating Through Movement

First and foremost, you should know that honey bees actually rely on dance language to communicate with one another. The way that the bee moves can tell you a great deal about what it is attempting to convey. Honey bee workers are capable of performing many movements. These movements are sometimes known as the waggle dance. They use this movement as a way to tell other workers about the location of nearby food sources. When a scout has discovered a nearby food source, it will return to the hive and perform a dance to let others know about it.

First, the bee will walk forward. Then, it will shake its abdomen quickly. The bee may also produce a buzzing noise, which syncs with the beat of the bee’s wings. The bee is also capable of pointing in the direction of the food. It does that through additional body movements. There are two types of the waggle dance. One dance, the round dance, lets the others know about food within a short distance from the hive.

The second dance, the sickle dance, tells the worker bees about food sources within 50 to 150 meters from the hive.

Using Pheromones

Bees are much more versatile and wiser than most people could ever imagine. While movement is one way they communicate, they can also communicate use pheromones or their odors. The bees are capable of utilizing odors as a way to deliver vital information to the entire colony. In fact, the queen bee is responsible for control the hive’s reproduction. The queen bee does this by using pheromones. This bee will emit smells to prevent the male drones and female workers from mating. She will also release a unique smell to make the community aware that she is still alive.

Beekeepers must proceed with caution when introducing a new queen to their hive. She will need to be kept separate for several days to allow the other bees to learn her smells. Pheromones are also vitally important for ensuring the survival of the hive.

Alerting To Threats

The honey bee is capable of stinging. When it does that, it is going to release a unique smell. The smell is capable of letting others know about the presence of the threat. If you accidentally disturb a honey bee colony, there is a good chance that you’re going to receive several stings. The pheromones are responsible. Honey bees have managed to learn how to communicate to ensure their survival. They’re far more intelligent than most people are willing to give them credit for.

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