NOTE: Washington Square Branch Library will be CLOSED June 21-24 for repair. Normal open hours at all other locations.

Waggle Dancing

(Books, Nonfiction) Permanent link

Without a recommendation from a good friend, I don’t think I ever would have just picked up Thomas Seeley’s book Honeybee Democracy, which details the experiments Seeley did to find out how honeybee swarms choose their nesting sites. Early on you find out that certain honeybees scout out possible locations and then return to do “waggle” dances on the swarm that communicate to other bees the angle and distance to the site as well as a judgment about how good the site would be. I was in awe of the honeybees skills after that and only went on to find out more fascinating ways that they communicate with each other to decide the best nesting site and then all fly as a swarm directly there. It’s also really interesting to read about how Seeley designs his experiments and his equipment to learn about these honeybee behaviors.

Seeley ends his book with this statement.

“Some have said that honeybees are messengers sent by the gods to show us how we ought to live: in sweetness and in beauty and in peacefulness. Whether or not this is true, I believe that the story of house hunting by honeybees can inspire the light of amazement about these beautiful little creatures, a light that I hope has shined through each page of this book.”

So there’s my “waggle” dance for the book and this is where you can find it. If you like it, tell some other members of the swarm.


Honeybee Democracy

Posted by Steve Siebers at 05/23/2011 09:15:35 AM