Advertisement

Honeybees use various criteria to select the site for performing the waggle dances on the comb

  • Giacomo Ortis
  • Davide Frizzera
  • Elisa Seffin
  • Desiderato Annoscia
  • Francesco NazziEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

After returning to the hive, successful honeybee foragers dance on the surface of the comb, where they interact with dance followers. It has been shown that bees establish a specific site for their waggle dances that is likely marked with chemical signals. By recording the site where dances take place on the comb in a single-frame observation hive, we investigated the relative importance of three different criteria for the selection of the dance floor by bees, including the distance from the hive entrance, the cell filling, and the chemical marking by bees and found that all these criteria play a role, albeit their importance does not seem to be equal.

Significance statement

The existence of a dance floor, where forager bees perform most waggle dances after returning to the hive, was first reported by von Frisch and later confirmed by various authors; however, the factors affecting the choice of a certain site, for this purpose, by bees have not received so far sufficient attention. Besides confirming the existence of a specific site on the comb where bees prefer to dance, we clarified the criteria used by bees for establishing this site, showing that both the distance from the entrance, the quality of the comb, and the chemical marking by bees play a role.

Keywords

Apis mellifera Dance floor Semiochemicals Waggle dance 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We gratefully thank Mauro D’Agaro for his technical assistance and Lisa D’Ambrogio for contributing to the second experiment on the localization of forager bees.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

265_2019_2677_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (18 kb)
Fig. S1 A schematic representation of the comb used in the experiments. The dashed lines represent the wooden bars separating the panels. (PDF 17 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (33 kb)
Fig. S2 (a) Role of cell filling and possible marking as a criterion of choice for the dance floor. At 8.30 of five different days, one panel was exchanged with that located where most dances normally take place. Then, between 11.00 and 12.00, the dances performed on each panel were recorded. After replacing the panels in their original positions, dances were counted again between 12.15 and 13.15. Note that this procedure was repeated for each panel (b) Role of the possible marking by bees as a criterion of choice for the dancing floor. At 8.30 the panel located in the first column far from the entrance was exchanged with that located in the first column near the entrance, where most dances normally take place. Between 11.00 and 12.00 the dances performed on each panel were recorded; after replacing panels in their original positions, dances were counted again between 12.15 and 13.15. Note that this experiment involved only panels located in the firs column (i.e. only one exchange possible) and was therefore repeated three times. (PDF 32 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (195 kb)
Fig. S3 (a) Number of dances carried out on each panel, of each side of the comb, from morning to afternoon, in three different days of observation. The error bar represents the standard deviation among different replicates of the same experiment. Different letters denote columns that are significantly different at P<0.05. (b) Proportion of dances carried out on each panel, on the two sides of the comb. The error bar represents the standard deviation among different replicates of the same experiment. (PDF 195 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (80 kb)
Fig. S4 Distribution of bees that could be regarded as potential dancers (i.e. older than the age at which the first dancing bee was noted) on different portions of the comb. The error bar represents the standard deviation of the proportions observed daily. (PDF 80 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (37 kb)
Fig. S5 Original position and proportion of uncapped cells of panels moved to position B1 (close to entrance) and proportion of dances recorded on it while in this position (solid line). (PDF 37 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (53 kb)
Fig. S6 Proportion of dances carried out on panels occupying a given position and in the same position after the panel had stayed in the most preferred position before the test. The diamonds represent the proportion of dances carried out on each panel while close to the entrance. (PDF 52 kb)
265_2019_2677_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (143 kb)
Fig. S7 Proportion of dances carried out on panels A1 and B1 (the normally most preferred for dancing) after spraying panel A1 with a solvent (control, a) and an extract of incoming foragers in that solvent (treatment, b); panel B1 was always sprayed with solvent. (PDF 142 kb)

References

  1. Baracchi D, Cini A (2014) A socio-spatial combined approach confirms a highly compartmentalised structure in honeybees. Ethology 120:1167–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gary N (1967) Diurnal variations in the intensity of flight activity from honeybee colonies. J Apic Res 6:65–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gilley DC (2014) Hydrocarbons emitted by waggle-dancing honey bees increase forager recruitment by stimulating dancing. PLoS One 9:e105671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Johnson BR (2010) Division of labor in honeybees: form, function, and proximate mechanisms. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 64:605–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Körner I (1940) Zeitgedächtnis und Alarmierung bei den Bienen. Z Vgl Physiol 27:445–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Marchetti S (1985) Il “metodo dei sesti” per la valutazione numerica degli adulti in famiglie di Apis mellifera L. Apicoltura 1:41–61Google Scholar
  7. Nùnez J (1977) Circadian variation of flight activity in colonies of Apis mellifera ligustica. J Insect Physiol 23:387–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Riessberger U, Crailsheim K (1997) Short-term effect of different weather conditions upon the behaviour of forager and nurse honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann). Apidologie 28:411–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Robinson GE (1992) Regulation of division of labor in insect societies. Annu Rev Entomol 37:637–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Seeley TD, Towne WF (1992) Tactics of dance choice in honey bees: do foragers compare dances? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 30:59–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Tautz J (1996) Honeybee waggle dance: recruitment success depends on the dance floor. J Exp Biol 199:1375–1381PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Tautz J, Bujok B (2006) Bee dance. In: Brown K (ed) Encyclopedia of language & linguistics, 2nd edn. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 710–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tautz J, Lindauer M (1997) Honeybees establish specific sites on the comb for their waggle dances. J Comp Physiol A 180:537–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tautz J, Rohrseitz K (1998) What attracts honeybees to a waggle dancer? J Comp Physiol A 183:661–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Thom C, Gilley DC, Hooper J, Esch HE (2007) The scent of the waggle dance. PLoS Biol 5:e228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. von Frisch K (1967) The dance language and orientation of bees. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Wilson EO (1975) Sociobiology: the new synthesis. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Ortis
    • 1
  • Davide Frizzera
    • 1
  • Elisa Seffin
    • 1
  • Desiderato Annoscia
    • 1
  • Francesco Nazzi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze AgroAlimentari, Ambientali e AnimaliUniversità degli Studi di UdineUdineItaly

Personalised recommendations