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Did You Know That Bees Get 'Surprised' When They Bump Into Each Other?

Mar 01, 2017 09:14 AM EST
Did You Know: Bees Get 'Surprised' When They Bump Into Each Other - How Does This Work
A team of scientists from Nottingham University has discovered that the previously thought signal from bees was actually vibration and sounds from the insects bumping into each other.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

For decades, scientists have been studying bees for their interesting hive mentality as well as their key role in pollination and the environment.

However, scientists who have been studying the behavior of bees during food gathering and pollination have stumbled upon a lot of roadblocks.

One of them is the frequent but inconsistent "booping" that happens wherever some bees go. Experts speculate that honeybees produce vibrations when they do their duties. Some thought these are signals or "orders" to help bees act like an organized force. For instance, a short "boop" when they meet each other is a sign to stop to reorganizing themselves.

These boops and vibrations are inaudible to the human ear but can be detected by accelerometers in honeycombs.

Read Also: Solving the Bee Crisis One Robot at a Time: How Do Robot Bees Work?  

According to New Scientist, researchers back in the 1950s thought the exchange of food that followed such a "boop" meant a desire to exchange food.

Interestingly, the "boop" is also heard when a bee blocks another from doing the waggle dance, or the sign that tells other bees where to go or avoid.

Humans can listen to these signals in a SoundCloud account of New Scientist.

Martin Bencsik and his colleagues from Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. have studied multiple vibrations from hives over a year and concluded that these frequent signals are not inhibitions or requests. These are reactions.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, used cameras inside hives to let researchers see what happens when bees bump into each other, and not when they dance or want food.

This led to the conclusion that the "boops" were actually "whoops!" and not more symbolic than scientists thought.

Read Also: Pesticide Ban: Evidence Links Chemicals to Bird, Bee Deaths, Extinction Threats  

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