Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day #33 Dancing with Bees

Well, I don't exactly dance with them. Not yet. But I'm looking forward to the time when I'll know that those forager bees are in the hive dancing their little hearts out.

It takes a high degree of cooperation amongst the members of a hive to collect, store, prepare, and protect the pollen, nectar, and eventually, the honey. If the older forager bees simply wandered around looking for nectar, there's a good chance the colony would starve, since good food sources that are relatively far from the hive might be visited by only a single bee,
like this one.The bees have it all figured out, though, which is one reason they've managed to survive so long. They dance. Now we all know dancing is good for you, but for the bees it's absolutely critical. When a bee finds a nectar source, she collects some, brings it home, and uses dance movements, either circles or figure-eights, to tell the other foragers not only that there is nectar, but also how far away it is, and in what direction.

                                                                                      The round dance tells the other bees that the nectar source is within 100 meters (that's 300 feet or so) from the hive, but the round dance can't tell the other bees which direction the nectar is in. For that information, they need the figure-eight, often called the "waggle tail" dance for an obvious reason. The bee waggles her tail. The way she's lined up in relation to the sun gives the direction. And the speed of her dance tells how far away the source is.

So the foraging buddies head out exactly to where they've been directed, and find that patch of michaelmas daisies, like the bright pink one above..

On cloudy days, the bees can still see the sun because they can sense ultraviolet light.

When another bee brings in info about a different source, she tell them which way to go, and more bees pour out of the hive to go get this new bunch of nectar.

Amazing, eh?

BEEattitude for Day #33:
      Blessed are those who dance in joy or in sorrow, for they shall find their direction in life.

Something for which I'm grateful:
      The fact that I can dance - as if no one were watching


Diana said...

I love the new word--"beeattitude." :-) LOL
Thanks for explaining the dance moves. They might use those two for Dancing With the Stars.

Fran Stewart said...

Glad you enjoy it, Diana!

Those bees would certainly win any contest.