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Old 09-06-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
midwesternerr
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: STLOUIS USA
Default Bee Communication

I'm not sure the species but on two seperate occasions I've been swarmed by a few bees. Besides the obvious question of how can I get these things to leave me alone, I wondered how they all knew to come and get me! Here's some basic information I found out:

Bees are able to communicate a fairly precise distance by altering the frequency of turns performed inside the hive. Bees can't see well inside the hive (if at all) and use vibrations or touch to pass messages along to nearby bees who pass it along to others kind of like 4th graders do with "psst X has cuties pass it on". The sun is used as a point of reference and the angle of the straight portion of the bees dance is the direction to fly. The source I have did not say how the number of bees to swarm or go look for food were determined, but there obviously must be some kind of motion for this also. I should also note this journal article was quite old and may not contain the latest information (actually I couldn't find all of the citation information which is why none is given).

I also found some information here from the National Zoo that says bees may chose to ignore messages under certain conditions. It also mentions mechanical bees are used by researchers to test how bees react to various "dance moves" in order to test hypotheses.
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