For years, bees were known to detect vibrations in solid substrates with their legs, but no proof existed that bees could hear sounds traveling through air. A series of experiments in 1989 led to the conclusion that bees could respond to airborne sound* and a search for the bee sound receptor. It was well established that mosquitoes and other flies hear sounds with Johnston’s organ, a sensory structure in the base of the antenna that senses vibration of the antenna. Removing the antennae of bees leads to a loss of response to airborne sound. From this we conclude that bees hear with their antennae, the same as mosquitoes.
*WH Kirchner. 1993. Acoustical communication in honeybees. Apidologie 24: 297-307.
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