The extraordinary language of bees: a dance that enchants

Go in search of food is one of the various tasks of worker bees; once found it, they return to the hive and communicate to the companions the exact location of the source of nourishment. This is when the dance begins: a circular dance if the nectar is less than 25 metres away, or an eight-shaped dance if the distance is greater; the further away the spoils are, the more they make rapid movements. In addition, they can also indicate the position with respect to the sun: for bees the vertical on the honeycomb represents the direction of the sun. If the food is in the direction of the sun, the rectilinear movement goes upwards, if it is in the opposite direction, the movement goes downwards. What’s more, if the food source is not in the direction of the sun, the axis of the dance is inclined and the angle it forms with the vertical indicates exactly the angle between the direction of the nectar and that of the sun.

In addition to these extraordinary movements, there is also a communication made up of vibrations, or rather hums at specific frequencies, vibrational impulses still under study with the purpose to learn about the communication between these insects and the state of health of the hive. Another important communication method used by bees is through pheromones: smells produced by reactions to certain situations, especially in dangerous situations from which the only way to defend their “family” is by stinging. This was just a small part of the sophisticated method of communication of these fascinating creatures from which one never stops learning.