The language of the bees – English

The language of the bees

23rd September


The language of the bees !

Installing hives and holding monthly meetings with the beekeeper in charge of our bees has enabled us to find out more about the extraordinary abilities of these pollinating insects.

A bee is able to mentally map up to 3km around its hive, and to remember the exact distance and direction of a source of food.
An exploring bee that discovers attractive environments for it and its fellow bees is therefore able to remember this information and pass it on.


To do so, the bee starts to ‘dance’ as a way of communicating the location of the food source, and its movements attract the attention of the hive’s other inhabitants.

This dance is in a figure of 8 and is known as the waggle dance. The tilt of the insect’s abdomen indicates the direction, whilst distance is demonstrated by the number of circles that the bee performs and quantity by the intensity of the waggling.

This causes bees attracted by the dance to head to the relevant spot as a group, leaving the messenger bee behind to continue its ballet and inform the entire hive.