Researchers at Royal Holloway have developed a method to track bee-to-bee communication in honeybee hives, showing how bees have many means to learn from their nest mates about the best flowers to visit, but it is their unique waggle dance which is prioritised above all else to find the best food sites.
Beehives are information centres, where many individuals wait in the hive for others to bring information back about rich flower patches. It has long been known that this information can be conveyed through waggle dances that encode the distance and compass direction that other bees should follow and how bees’ impressive sense of smell can often lead them to flower patches without following a single dance.
However, in the new study, led by postdoctoral researcher, Dr Matthew Hasenjager from the Department of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, the researchers traced the simultaneous spread of both dance-based and food-odour information as it travelled through the hive. MORE
Header image: The honeybee waggle. Credit: Christoph Grüter.