The Language of Bees

  • Karl von Frisch


Training experiments designed to throw light on the co-ordination of the bee’s various sense organs have been repeatedly mentioned in previous chapters. One of the first conditions necessary for the success of such an experiment is that the trainees should make their appearance at the place where we intend to train them. To attract them to it, a simple device can be used: a few sheets of paper liberally smeared with honey are placed on the experimental table. It may take many hours or days even before a foraging worker appears; but once her attention is aroused by the smell of honey, she will soon regale herself greedily with the rich food. From now on we have an easy task, and we may start preparing our experiment, assured that not only will our first bee return to her food a few minutes later, but that dozens, nay hundreds, of newcomers will appear at our table within a few hours. If we try to trace their origin we shall find that almost without exception they came from the same colony as the first discoverer of the feeding-place. Hence it appears that in some way or other this first-comer must not only have announced her rich find to the other bees in the hive, but must also have led some of them out to it so that they might exploit it for themselves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1954

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl von Frisch
    • 1
  1. 1.MunichGermany

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