Sci/Tech Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by tom_mai78101, Feb 14, 2017 at 7:14 PM.

  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

    Whoop whoop! A vibrational pulse produced by honeybees, long thought to be a signal to other bees to stop what they are doing, might actually be an expression of surprise.

    Bees produce vibrations with their wing muscles that are inaudible to humans but can be detected by accelerometers embedded in the honeycomb.

    In the 1950s, researchers noticed that this signal was often followed by bees exchanging food, and hypothesised that it was a request for food. Later, it was shown that the signal was produced when one bee tried to inhibit another from performing a waggle dance – a behaviour that tells other bees where to forage. It was interpreted as a “stop” signal that warns colleagues against foraging in a location where there might be problems, such as a predator or a researcher bothering the bees for an experiment.

    To find out more, Martin Bencsik and colleagues at Nottingham Trent University in the UK used accelerometers to record vibrations inside hives over the course of a year. Then they used software to scan the recordings and identify the signal. Some of these signals have been collected and converted into the sound clip below.

    They found that the signal happens much more commonly than we thought, with the accelerometer picking up around six or seven a minute from just a small area of the honeycomb. “There’s no way a bee was trying to inhibit another one that frequently, and there’s no way a bee would request food that frequently” says Bencsik.

    They also found that the signal takes place mostly at night – in contrast to waggle dances, which happen in the day when bees are foraging. What’s more, the signal is easy to elicit from hundreds of bees en masse just by knocking gently on the wooden wall of the hive.

    Read more here. (News Scientist)
  2. Varine

    Varine And as the moon rises, we shall prepare for war

    Oh, honeybees, you are always funny.

Share This Page