Living With Good Vibrations

Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Honey bees use vibrations transmitted through the honey comb for communication. The vibration of the comb vibrates the legs of the bees. A receptor that measures the extension between two leg segments, the tibia and femur was found* to produce large nerve signals (action potentials) in response to vibrations that elicited bee behaviors.

It is possible to train bees using vibration. If a platform leading to a feeding station containing a food reward is made to vibrate and a platform with a feeding station but no food reward is stationary, forager bees will learn to only enter the feeding station if the platform vibrates.  This training provides a method to “ask” bees what vibration frequencies they can detect.  These types of experiments were use to first demonstrate that bees detect vibrations with their legs.**

*D Sandeman, J Tautz, M Lindauer. 1996. Transmission of vibration across honeycombs and its detection by bee leg receptors. Journal of Experimental Biology 1996 199: 2585-2594

**Hansson A (1945) Lauterzeugung und Lautauf- fassungsvermögen der Bienen. Opusc Ento- mol suppl 6, 1-124

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, communication. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Living With Good Vibrations

  1. Pingback: Living With Good Vibrations | Living With Insects Blog

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