Honeybees use various criteria to select the site for performing the waggle dances on the comb
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.
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.
KeywordsApis mellifera Dance floor Semiochemicals Waggle dance
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
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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