For bees and social insects, the ability to exchange information is essential for the success of their countryside. One way that beekeepers do this is through their vanity dance, which is a unique pattern of behavior, which has probably evolved over 20 million years ago. Bee wagon dance tells her sisters in the countryside to find a source of high quality food. However, in recent years people have begun to study the real benefits of this dance language. Biologists at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and at Johannes Gutenberg Mainz (JGU) in Germany have now shaded a little new light on the advantages and disadvantages of bee dance. "Despite our surprise, we found that the bee colonies were more successful in collecting food if they were being deprived of their dance language," Dr. Christoph Grüter, behavioral ecologist at Mainz University. One potential reason may be to change habitats caused by humans. Along with colleagues in Lausanne, Grüter made experiments over a number of years to explore what impact the dance language has on the success of the country.
Approximately ten different species of yellow bees communicate through waggle dancing. However, the vast majority of bees, that is, have no more than 500 species of very social stainless insects, dance language. So Grüter had an interest in the benefits that waggle dance makes to colonies, not mainly because, as a communications strategy, it's a long time. Some wagg dances can only last a few seconds, while others take up to five minutes.
In the experiments, the scientists handled the conditions that influenced some of the bee colonies to confusing and, as a result, ignored the dancing bees. After performing under such conditions, the wagag dance did no longer make sense for a bee audience. In order to create these conditions, light was prevented from falling on the pavements, turned into a horizontal position, preventing the bees from using gravity to direct themselves. Another very important aspect was to take into account their ability to remember the location of food. "Food-fed bees have an excellent memory and they can recall a rich feeding place for several days," Grüter explained. So, the research team had to stop forks from performing the waggle dance for 18 days to make sure they could not use their memory to tell other bees where to fly to find the sources excellent food Feeding bees are older than other members of colonization. In their last phase of life, they are no longer working in the boat, but go out to collect nectar and paste. Typically, they have been in the last 18 days of their life.
Bee bees with no knowledge of waggle dance are more effective in challenging conditions
The team of biologists was surprised by the fact that baldnesses without the dance information were more active and produced more honey than hinges that used dance language. "We were expecting to confirm that the dance language was important, but our results were exactly opposite," said Dr Robbie I, Anson Price, lead author of the study. "I suspect that the bees are probably losing interest when they face disorganized dance, and they go out to look for food on their own," added Price. The significant differences: Bees in colonies without an airship dance language were eight minutes longer and produced 29 per cent more honey over the whole period of 18 days than bees using & # 39 ; r waggle dancing.
The conclusion is that some bees, such as the Buckfast bees in this study, may be 100-year-old western honey bees can do better without social communication. Grüter believes that the environment and food availability play an important role. If there is a large flower apple tree nearby, it's probably a good strategy to wait for information on its location. If, on the other hand, there are only a few flowering plants scattered on balconies or along roads, it may be better to leave the hive faster and feed independently. "In our opinion, the behavior seen can be explained mainly in terms of how much time the bees save," said Grüter.
Bees may be able to learn how to assess the value of empty dancing information
When observing the bees, the scientists made the incredible discovery that the bees were able to judge the relevance of the content of dance information and thus lose interest in disorganized dancing. "It seems as if it were once again becoming aware that something was wrong," said Grüter. "Our results arise with the possibility that people have created environments that the empty dancing language has not fitted well," write the authors in their study, which was recently published in the magazine Science Feedback.
The idea that bees can be able to evaluate the quality of the information in dance is one that Grwter wants to investigate in more detail in the future. It also plans to repeat the experiments in the Mainz area under different conditions – in urban and rural areas and at different times of year.
Christoph Grüter has been the head of a research team at the Organic and Molecular Evolution Institute at the University of Johannes Gutenberg Mainz since 2015. Formerly, he was the head of a research group in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Her group investigates how social insects organize and co-ordinate their joint activities, with communication in insect colonies playing a central role.