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Bee Dance (Waggle Dance)

Submitted by Mousumi Sepai, Last Modified on 2019-12-19

Dance Language of the Honey Bee

Waggle dance definition:

Communication system is defined as connect or communicate with other people, i.e. means that “any sharing of information”. Honey bees use special types of complex communication system in the form of a dance language to communicate or to inform members about the location of a food source. This special type of dance system is called “Honey bee dance”.

Why do bees do waggle dance:

The bee which locates the food source at first is called the forager bee. It communicates with other bees about the location of the food source through the dance form which is called waggle dance.

How do honey bees communicate with each other:

The forager bee after discovering a suitable source of food returns back to the hive and perform a dance on the comb to inform in-mates about the food source. This honey bee dance is of two types-

1. Round dance
2. Waggle dance

Round dance:

What is the round dance :

For food at short distances from 20-200 meters, returning foragers perform the round dance. The dance involves a series of circles with reversals in direction every second or so i.e. they dance in a circular fashion.

What does a honey bee round dance tell the other bees:

Round dance conveys the information about the source of food only.
Round Dance

Waggle dance(bee communication dance):

For food at greater distances i.e. beyond 200 meters, the returning foragers perform the waggle dance.

In this dance form, they make a figure ‘8’ with a straight portion in the middle of the figure. The forager waggles its body and emits sound burst during the straight or waggling run. The direction of relative to the sun is same as the direction of straight run relative to gravity.

The duration of the straight run increases with distance at the rate of about one complete waggle per 30 meters. The frequency of the waggling decreases in increase in distance.

The area that the dance occupies on the comb, the duration of each complete figure ‘8’ cycle and the duration of the sound bursts all correlate with the distance the food source.

It is now known from various studies, researches and experiments that the main source of information is the direction and the duration of the straight or wagging run. Both round and wagging communicate information about distance and direction of the food source to the other bees. Thus the waggle dance of the forager bees inform not only about a food source but also about its direction and distance from the comb.

Waggle Dance

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