Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bee Facts - January

Surprising as it may seem, bees are able to hear. They don't hear sounds in the same way as mammals however. Instead they are sensitive to a few specific frequencies of vibrations which are transmitted through the air or the physical structure of the hive. They have three sets of organs for detecting these vibrations. One set is located in the legs. These organs listen for messages transmitted through the honeycomb by the Queen. The other two sets of hearing organs are in the antennae. These function like tuning forks and are only sensitive to certain frequencies. The lower part of the antennae are sensitive to about 20 beats per second. This is the frequency associated with the waggle dance which bees use to communicate the location of food. The higher parts are sensitive to between 250 to 300 beats a second. This is the frequency at which that the wing muscles vibrate when the wings are folded. The Queens use this method of communication to "speak" to the hive and control swarming.