Bee Syndicate S1 E14 12/31/2015. Dance Offs and Headbutts
Ah the Waggle Dance. It’s not the latest dance craze sweeping the nation and its not going to dethrone the whip and nae nae but it may be slightly more popular than Gangnam style at this point and is certainly a better dance than the macarena (ugh i think i'm showing my age)
The discovery of this form of bee communication is credited to Karl von Frisch (others had observed it but he decoded its meaning) an Austrian ethologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973 His work centered on investigations of the sensory perceptions of the honey bee and he was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance. His theory, described in his 1927 book Aus dem Leben der Bienen (translated into English as The Dancing Bees
The Waggle Dance is probably the most well known form of bee communication aside from the blatant “Fuck you” conveyed by a bee sting that is. the Waggle Dance serves one purpose. Scouts and foragers use it to inform the rest of the workforce the location of resources. this could be nectar, or water. It is also used when the colony is swarming or abating the hive. Scouts will use the the waggle dance. to inform the swarm of potential new real estate to reestablish themselves. The orientation of the dance on the vertical comb tells both the distance to the resource and its location based on the position of the sun in relation to the hive. since a dancer bee will likely perform this dance more than a 100 times to advertise the find they will actually adjust the dance as they go to compensate for the movement of Apollo across the sky. The vigor and excitement of the dance indicates how much of said resource is at the site (faster dance more stuff ), and the length of the waggle portion of the dance is the distance to the resource.”Coolest dance ever” well certainly better than the Charleston anyway, and definitely way better than the Humpty Dance. This dance is so popular in the the hive may be being performed dozens of times at any given moment in the busy beehive. so it’s sort of a dance off competing for forgers to go and exploit whatever resource is being advertised by the dancer.
The Headbutt of Recognition (there might be a more scientific name for this but i cant find it so go with it.) is a communication to an advertising dancer that the dance is no longer needed to point fellow bees in the direction of “whatever”. This might be because the resource is being already gathered or danger has been found at the site if another bee that knows the dance should stop she essentially runs up and headbutts the dancing bee to let the dancer know it's all good ( Appropriate for insects as metal as bees if you ask me.)
The round dance is another yet less popular dance that occurs in hives it doesn't give any directional information but let's other bees know that food is within 100 meters.