Honey Bees have been Twerking for Centuries

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(Newswire.net — February 25, 2014)  — 


‘Twerking’ has been around for a couple of decades now and the definition of it is “a type of dancing in which the dancer, usually a woman, shakes her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer’s buttocks to shake, “wobble” and “jiggle”.


Well so what, that’s nothing new!  Bees have been doing this for centuries and it’s called the Waggle Dance.  Not only is the Waggle Dance (in my humble opinion) far more attractive, it is also extremely ingenious.  More than we can say for twerking I think it is safe to say!


Waggle Dance is a term used in Beekeeping also known as Apiculture and it describes a very particular figure of eight dance that bees perform for other members of their colony so they can communicate the direction and distance of the flowers which are yielding the most nectar and pollen.  There is close correlation between the duration and direction of the waggle run and the direction and distance of the resource being described.  They use the hive and the angel of the sun to pinpoint direction and the distance is dictated by the length of the waggle, the longer the waggle the further the distance.  These clever little creatures even adjust the angel of the dance if they have been in the hive for a while, to accommodate the changing direction of the sun.


Bees of all types play a huge role in the pollination of crops and as explained in a previous article in this series http://www.newswire.net/newsroom/financial/00080377-more-than-honey.html A third of what we eat is reliant upon these little creatures.  It is crucial therefore that we discover as much as possible about these complex insects.


Scientists have started to track honey bees, but a single bee can visit several thousand flowers in one day and travel several kilometres, not to mention being impossibly tiny.  So, how do you track a bee?


Well apparently, with tiny antenna glued to the back of the honey bee which receives a signal emitted by a radar transmitter using harmonic radar technology.  This system was developed by scientists at the Natural Resources Institute and is operated by scientists at Rothamsted Research, a government-funded agricultural research centre in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.


Scientists at the Berlin Free University are using harmonic radar pioneered at Rothamsted to see if neonicotinoids affect a honey bee’s navigation.  “Honey bees have an amazing ability to navigate,” says insect neurobiologist Prof Randolf Menzel, who is leading the research. “This kind of cognitive process requires the highest order of neural processing in this little brain. That means anything which is disturbing this fine network process should have a high impact.”


Scientists at Rothamsted are using the technology to study the flight path of honey bees infected with a virus transmitted by the destructive varroa mite. The tiny parasite has led to the spread of some of the most contagious and widely distributed viruses on the planet, killing vast numbers of bees.


Let’s hope this research can assist the honey bee’s survival, so that they can perform the Waggle Dance for centuries to come.  To read even more fascinating facts about honey bees simply click here.