Honeybees let out a RIDICULOUSLY cute ‘whoop’ whenever they bump into one another


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Each time bees collide, they let out what is thought to be an expression of surprise, that sounds like a ‘whoop’. This is because of a vibrational pulse produced by honeybees, and is also a singal for other bees to stop what they’re doing!

Continue reading, see the video and hear the lil whoops.

Credit: Simon Colmer/NaturePL

Bees produce vibrations with their wing muscles that are inaudible to humans but can be detected by accelerometers embedded in the honeycomb. – NaturePL

Initially, in the 1950s, researches noticed the whooping signal, however as it was often followed by bees exchanging food, they came up with the idea that they were requesting for food. Later, however, it was shown that the signal was made when one bee tried to inhibit another from performing a waggle dance. This is a behaviour that tells other bees where to forage.

Credit: Simon Colmer/NaturePL

“We found that the signal happens much more commonly than we thought, with the accelerometer picking up around six or seven a minute from just a small area of the honeycomb. There’s no way a bee was trying to inhibit another one that frequently, and there’s no way a bee would request food that frequently” says Bencsik.

He adds, “They also found that the signal takes place mostly at night – in contrast to waggle dances, which happen in the day when bees are foraging. What’s more, the signal is easy to elicit from hundreds of bees en masse just by knocking gently on the wooden wall of the hive.”

By placing cameras within the hive itself, the researchers discovered that the signal often happens when a bee bumps into one another, rather than when bees are waggle dancing, exchanging food, or something else.

“We suggest that, in the majority of instances, it is bees being startled that produce the signal,” says Bencsik. The team propose that instead of the “stop” signal, it should be called the “whooping” signal.

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Elle