Acta Biologica Hungarica

, Volume 59, Supplement 2, pp 157–162 | Cite as

The Dance of the Honeybee: How Do Honeybees Dance to Transfer Food Information Effectively?

  • R. OkadaEmail author
  • H. Ikeno
  • Noriko Sasayama
  • H. Aonuma
  • D. Kurabayashi
  • E. Ito


A honeybee informs her nestmates of the location of a flower she has visited by a unique behavior called a “waggle dance.” On a vertical comb, the direction of the waggle run relative to gravity indicates the direction to the food source relative to the sun in the field, and the duration of the waggle run indicates the distance to the food source. To determine the detailed biological features of the waggle dance, we observed worker honeybee behavior in the field. Video analysis showed that the bee does not dance in a single or random place in the hive but waggled several times in one place and then several times in another. It also showed that the information of the waggle dance contains a substantial margin of error. Angle and duration of waggle runs varied from run to run, with the range of ±15° and ±15%, respectively, even in a series of waggle dances of a single individual. We also found that most dance followers that listen to the waggle dance left the dancer after one or two sessions of listening.


Apis mellifera waggle dance foraging food location honeybee social insect 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2008

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Okada
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Ikeno
    • 2
  • Noriko Sasayama
    • 2
  • H. Aonuma
    • 3
  • D. Kurabayashi
    • 4
  • E. Ito
    • 1
  1. 1.Kagawa School of Pharmaceutical SciencesTokushima Bunri UniversitySanuki, KagawaJapan
  2. 2.School of Human Science and EnvironmentUniversity of HyogoHimeji, HyogoJapan
  3. 3.Research Institute for Electronic SciencesHokkaido UniversitySapporo, HokkaidoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Mechanical and Control EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyMeguro-ku, TokyoJapan

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