How Do Bees Tell Each Other Where Flowers Are With the Waggle Dance?

Bees use a bee dance, also known as the “waggle dance”, to tell each other where flowers are.

bees do the waggle dance

A bee dance involves dancing or moving inside the hive in a figure-eight shape, facing in a specific direction, waggling periodically, and flapping their wings.

What tells the story is the speed of the bee, the direction the bee points, and the sounds she makes with her wings, all worker bees are female.

Say a bee finds a sweet, flowering bush about 50 yards from the hive.

She will bring some of the scent home on her legs and position herself on the wall of the hive.

Using “up” to stand for the sun, she will point her body in the direction of the bush.

This shows the other bees where the bush can be found.

The bush is only 50 yards away, pretty close for a bee, which means the bee will waggle frenetically to indicate that it is close.

She will flap her wings to make noise and draw other bees to watch.

The bees watch all these directional/distance indicators and then go and find the dancer bee’s bush.

If they find it’s worth dancing about, too, they will collect from it and come back and perform in the same way.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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