When honeybees want to spread the news about a good source of nectar, they communicate the location to others in the hive by dancing.
It’s called the waggle dance. And to the untrained eye the bee just appears to be vibrating intensely.
But for honeybees, the dance moves contain a ton of information. The harder the bee vibrates, the further the source of the food. The angle is important, too. If the dancing bee points up, the food is located in the direction of the sun. If the bee points down, it’s telling the other foragers to fly away from the sun. The angle of the dance depends on the location of the food source.
Sometimes there can be dozens of returning bees in the hive, each with their own waggle dance, each with their own audience. A bee that has yet to forage for the day will choose to follow one dancing bee, but ignore the others. An unreliable dancer may be ignored by all the bees in the hive.
It’s not a perfect system. The angle a bee chooses to dance may be off by a bit. So the dance is repeated several times and the other bees learn to “average” the angles and intensity of the dance before heading out for the day.
Learn more about the Rogue Honeybees on the Bee Buzz page at Rogue.com.