Bees can be considered as the most precious gift of nature because the pollination of plants majorly depends on these tiny creatures. When considering a colony of bees, they like to work as a team to collect nectar. Although it is a tiny creature they always try to achieve their food requirements in a small period of time. For this it is very important to work as a team.

But when considering the flowers, different flowers have different amount of pollen and nectar. Because of this reason bees have to search for better flowers which contain the best pollens and nectar. Although a bee found a place where the best pollens and nectar is, there’s a difficulty to communicate the place accurately to other bees.  This was a mystery for a long time.

A scientist named Karl von Frish conducted some experiments to find what’s going on there. He could find that one bee dance in a special pattern while others watch and learn the pattern. When dancing, the dancing bee gives some nectar to others to smell and taste that helps other bees to find the correct flower patch. After researching further more he could find this dancing pattern help bees to find the correct direction of their food source. There are two different kind of dancing patterns to communicate the correct location. They are

  1. Waggle Dance
  2. Circle Dance

Waggle Dance

Waggle dance is used to communicate two different information to the colony. They are

  • The distance to the food source
  • The direction of the food source

Distance

The dancing bee waggles its body while moving forward in a straight line. After completing the straight line it circles round to repeat the dance. The length of the straight line of the dance indicate the rough distance to the flower patch. Longer straight lines indicate longer distance while shorter straight lines indicate shorter distance.

bees waggle dance

Direction

Not only to indicate the location of the flower patch, the waggle dance is used by bees to find up and down of the bee hive. For this it performs the waggle dance at a specific angle with the sun. When flying to a flower patch, bees use this angle that is with the sun to find the correct direction.

Round Dance

Round dance is used to locate the nearby flower patches (< 100 m). In a round dance, the dancing bee don’t perform a waggle dance and there is no direction. In a round dance the dancing bee moves in circle and after completing the circle it moves the same circle in the opposite direction. This may repeat  several times.

bees round dance

How bees find the best food resource?

Bees collect nectar and pollens from flowers. So they always try to collect best products. When collecting foods a single bee perform two things. First, they specialize to collect one resource at a time: either nectar or pollen. This method helps bees to find the best food source. Secondly the bee remember which flower species is the best. The flower species can change over time. To find the correct flower patch, the dancing bee provide some part of nectar to other bees to smell and taste.

How bees see the world?

Bees have a different view of the world than human. They are having a difficulty to identify red colors from other colors.  How ever they replace red color objects in blue, green or purple. It has the ability to see colors which human can’t see. It can see ultraviolet colors also. This ability helps them to identify the location of the nectar accurately.

Featured image by Leon Škrilec on Unsplash