Bees Communicate!by Kool Cat KC on 05/02/12
My human, Terry, read a wild fact about honey bees in Smithsonian Magazine.
Honey bees decide, as a group, on where they will live. Biologist, Thomas Seeley, has figured out how bee colonies make their decisions. They dance, and then they butt each other on the head.
Here’s how he says they do it:
In the spring, if a colony of bees has grown too big for where they live, they send out scouts to look for a new place. They look for a hollow place that’s about fifteen feet off the ground, can hold about 10 gallons and has a small entrance. The way I look at it, they like a hole in tree that I can barely get my nose in, get to by jumping up on at least two branches and holds a little more than 100 cans of cat food. Do you get the picture?
A bee that finds a great, tremendous, stupendous place (it’s always a she, they’re the ones that look for new hives) flies back to the hive and starts running in circles and waggling her behind all the time she’s circling. A bee that’s really excited about a new home site makes as many as 200 circles, trying to get other bees to come see the new place. When other bees come with her, they all come back circling and dancing excitedly. Then more bees visit and more bees dance.
A bee that finds a just okay place, will come back and dance and circle, but she won’t do it so much. She may not get as many bees to come see the just okay place. And when they all come back, they won’t be as enthusiastic as the ones coming back from the stupendous place.
The bees that like the stupendous place will travel to it many, many times, bringing other bees. The bees that like the just okay place, don’t return as many times.
Now comes the head-butting. The bees that like the stupendous place head-butt the ones that like the just okay place, to get them to be quiet and stop dancing. When they hit each other, they beep. When only one group is still excited about their new place, the decision is made.
Isn’t that the wildest fact? How does your family make decisions? How do you and your friends make decisions? Whatever you do, it's okay to waggle your behind, but I hope you don’t do any head-butting.