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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Honey Bee Communication Through the Waggle Dance

I am currently reading Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley.
What a delightful book! I love it because I am fascinated by bees, but I think even a non-beekeeper would be intrigued by Seeley's way of presenting how honey bees make decisions about the welfare and growth of the hive as a whole.

Seeley writes so comfortably that I feel like I am in conversation with him. He doesn't throw around scientific wisdom, but instead conveys his knowledge in such a way that it feels casual and easy to understand.

If you have the opportunity to read this book, you'll think about swarms and swarm intelligence in so much clearer a way. Seeley shines a light for us all on how the honeybee communicates about choice of living space for a swarm and how these decisions are made in the swarm.

I find honeybee communication fascinating. Most of it takes place in the dark of the hive (note hives are completely dark - no windows.) And yet the honeybee communicates by dancing. I assume since she can't be seen dancing, her movements are felt by her sisters. We always see drawings or film of the honey bee dancing visibly, but that is not the case in the hive.

I opened my email this morning to find a note from Tucker Balch at Georgia Tech. Among his many interests and talents, he works with robotics and in that interest began studying honeybees. He has made an enlightening video about the waggle dance that I have loved watching (I've seen it three times just today!) His interest is in understanding the role of communication in the bee hive.

Here is his video about honeybee communication via the waggle dance, more clearly explained than anywhere else I've ever seen it. He repeated Von Frisch's experiment of years ago. I encourage you to click on the lower right corner of the YouTube screen to make the video full screen:

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hello Linda,
    I will be a new beekeeper this year. I. Really like your blog. I have been reading several books this winter and have increased what knowledge I had greatly. Since you spoke so highly of this book I will try and get it read before season starts.
    www.blakeneybees.blogspot.com

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  3. Anonymous9:17 AM

    The waggle dance is an old story among the beekeepers. The new elements in this video are:
    the design of an experiment, graphic tools to visualize its results, the ability to proliferate them and to communicate.
    Besides, the beekeeping is tangent to so many fields of man's life, social, psychological, technical .... .

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  4. I"m reading Honeybee Democracy too! Just borrowed it from the library a week ago. Fascinating book. Another bulb lighted in my head about bees.

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