Most people have heard of the bee waggle dance. It does seem incredible, and there is still controversy about it. The video below was taken from the observation hive which sits on my desk. Being able to watch bees’ behavior inside the hive provides hours of interest and entertainment.
When a honeybee finds a good source of pollen or nectar it has to have a way of communicating this to its sisters. It performs a waggle dance on the face of a comb inside the hive, every so often stopping to share a taste of the pollen or nectar it has found.
The direction of the dance, in relation to the vertical, gives the angle the workers must fly to find the source. The ‘energy’ and speed of the dance indicates the value of the source.
If they find a good source of forage they must tell everyone else. The idea of them flying randomly within a 1½ mile radius looking for flowers, seems like a waste of time.
The waggle dance is also used when the colony swarms. Once the swarm has left its resting place and moved on to a permanent home, some bees return and do the waggle dance to make sure any returning bees are made aware of the hive’s new location.