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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Those Incredible Bees

1) Honey bees may break off from their former colony and swarm out in spring to find a new nest. They gather on a tree branch in a big ball of bees. From there, "scout" bees head off to evaluate potential hive sites. (Does it have a pool? How are the neighborhood schools?) The scouts report back to the swarm and perform a dance that indicates the direction of the site, the distance to it, and how excited they are about it. How is a decision reached? Each scout visits the sites reported by others. If they like it better than any they've seen before, they cease dancing about those other sites and start dancing abbout the new one. When all the scouts are dancing about the same site -- Bob's your uncle! The hive takes off for that one.
2) Individual bees "major" in certain flowers and "minor" in others. When a bee first begins to forage, it flits from flowers of one species to another. It may take up to twenty seconds to determine how to get into a flower and reach the nectar. Within seven trips, however, it will have chosen one species as its major flower, and will be able to reach the nectar in roughly two seconds. It will also choose a minor flower as backup, in case it cannot find its major in bloom one day.

7 comments:

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  3. typo's, grammer, verb tenses... last attempt...
    The bee dance, does it differentiate the percentages of major vs. minor flowers? Are factors other than is there a pool evident in the bee dances. Would you also post a link of a video tape with you and your family acting out the bee dances?

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  5. I don't know if the bee dance says anything about what sort of flowers are available. (Besides dancing about a new hive, they do a daily dance about where food is to be found.)

    Video to follow.

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  6. The author left this post here as well.

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  7. I am related to bees on both sides of the family, but I'm not giving away any dance secrets.

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