The Waggle Dance

Honey bees communicate in many different ways. The waggle dance is the name given to their method of communicating to each other where there is a good source of pollen, nectar and or water.


A foraging bee that has successfully found any of these performs the waggle dance when she returns to the hive in order to provide information on the presence, type, direction and distance of the source thus enabling the other foragers to find it.


The direction of the food source is shown by the angle of the dance vertically down the comb face. This angle indicates the bearing from the direction of the sun that should be followed to find the forage. They even change this angle as the day progresses as the sun moves across the sky.


The distance is conveyed by the duration of the waggle dance. The longer it takes the further away the source is. The quality of the food source is shown by the vigour and speed of the dance.


Bees never cease to amaze me.


If you want to learn more about the waggle dance and who and how it was decoded I recommend reading this blog post by The Apiarist

The waggle dance