Beekeeping - How to?

What kind of music do bees like? Do honey bees dance?

Honey bees are super-skilled creatures that amaze many: from well-organized social groups to artistic structures and unique products that they make. The hexagonal structures of the honeycomb are the most efficient in the world! No wonder they top the list of the most researched insects by scientists. A healthy colony consists of 50,000 to 100,000 honey bees. The individual castes( workers, drones, and the queen) cannot survive without the input of each group. 

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What kind of music do bees like?

To the amazement of many, honey bees are attracted to music with frequencies ranging from 200-500 Hz. These frequencies resemble the buzzing sound bees make in the hive. Just like humans, they have their preferences. While they may not hear exactly, they do feel the vibrations with their bodies. Playing the right music can attract bees into your garden.

Do honey bees dance?

Someone may wonder, if they love music, do they dance. Yes, of course. They are known to perform the waggle and the round or circle dance. A bee will perform the dance when they want to inform other foragers of an ideal nectar source. The liveliness of the dance depends on the quantity and quality of the food source. A food source with low-quality nectar will produce shorter and fewer dances. It will also be less vigorous and attracts fewer foragers. If a bee performs a waggle dance, also known as the tail wagging dance, it communicates to other foragers the distance to the nectar source and the direction too. The duration and direction of the run correspond to the direction and distance of the advertised nectar source. The farther the location, the longer the waggle dance. If a bee waggles more vigorously, he draws the attention of many foragers.  

A bee performing a round dance shows the nectar source is nearby (about 10 meters away or even closer). When performing the dance, the bee runs in small circles. The dancing forager usually smells like the floral source and may offer some samples to the others. A round dance does not provide information on direction. The recruited bees fly in all directions finding the food source guided by the odor. The bee dances with a buzzing sound of about 250-300 Hz.

Other types of dances performed in the hive include:

Cleaning Dance: A bee performs a cleaning dance when she wants another bee to help groom herself. She will stamp her feet and shake her body. Grooming is a crucial way for bees to clean themselves and each other.

Joy Dance: Surprisingly, even bees celebrate and perform dances. For instance, when a new queen emerges for her cell. The bees place their front legs on one another and push their abdomens up and down.

Whirl Dance: A whirl dance motivates the colony to swarm or leave the hive. A bee will run in zig-zags whirling its wings and shaking its body.

Are bees bothered by loud noise?

Noise pollution has adverse effects on our well-being and that of wildlife too. But does it affect the bees? Amazingly it does. Excessive noise alters their natural behavior in various ways. These include causing them to stop moving( puts them in a shock), interrupting mating, and reducing their number in a vicinity.

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How do bees produce the buzzing sound?

The bees’ rapid beating of the wings as they fly through the air produces a buzzing sound. They beat their wings 230 times in a second. The vibrations that they create are detectable by the human ear. 

Other instances that you will hear the buzzing sound:

  • As they move from one flower to the other. 
  • While defending their colonies. This is the sound you hear when you get close to the hive. 
  • The buzzing sound is also heard as bees regulate the temperature in the hive.
  • They vibrate their wing muscles when warming up or cooling down the hive. A buzzing sound usually accompanies this vibration. 
  • They generate a buzz when communicating. This can be used to warn off predators.

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