Nature/Bees: Fascinating Insight to How Bees Communicate

Honey bees communicate using the waggle dance talk which was first noted by Aristotle in 330 BC, and documented in detail in the year 1967 by a zoologist who later won a Nobel Prize.

The waggle dance moves, a series of moves that the honey bees perform, are primarily done to communicate and inform other honey worker bees about the location of the food. These insects are therefore are able to communicate the source of the food that can be up to 500 feet from their home which is called a hive.

The task of honey worker bees is to find nectar and pollen in the surrounding areas from their hive and fly back to inform other bees on the source and location. Those who are successful in locating a source come back and perform the intense waggle dance on the honeycomb.

the-waggle-danceSo how the waggle dance is exactly performed? Simple. They will first move in a straight line vigorously shaking their abdomen and make a strong buzzing noise. The buzzing noise is made using their wings so that others can listen in on the message.

The faster and wider they move, the further the source of the food is. But how do they communicate the path to the source? This one is more complex because the position of the sun is considered in this move. The bees performing the waggle dance talk will align their bodies in the exact direction of where the food source is located in accordance with the position of the sun.

The dance pattern actually looks like a figure eight. This is because the waggle dance talk is continuously performed by moving back to the original position. Performing the waggle dance talk allows the bees to share the food with members of the colony that they are part of. Sharing allows them to communicate about the quality of the food as well.