Dance The Special Language of Bees

About the special language of bees, how they use dance and possibly supersonic sounds in their communication.

THOMAS R. HENRY'S 10 BEST ODDITIES

The Special Language of Bees. "Study of bee language now has advanced to differentiation of bee dialects. Some years age Dr. Karl von Fritsch of the University of Munich established the fact that bees actually possessed a means by which they could communicate with each other and without which the remarkable organization within the swarm would have been nearly inexplicable. Their language consists primarily of signs like that of deaf and dumb persons. Dr. von Fritsch reached the point where he could get some idea of what the bees were talking about and even predict their behavior from their conversation.

"Recently Dr. von Fritsch has found that different varieties have quite different languages, perhaps as far apart as French and German; one variety cannot tell what another is discussing. He has gone one step further--to the discovery that the insects probably talk also in sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. The audible buzzing is not a means of communication.

"'There are indications,' he says in a report to the Rockefeller Foundation, 'that sounds, probably in the supersonic range, play a role in their communications.

"'Physiologically it would be interesting to know how they judge distance. Their dances indicate with remarkable exactness the distance between the hive and the feeding place. How do they adjust themselves to the changing positions of the sun when they use it as a compass? Apparently they have an excellent memory for time, for they seem to know that the sun at a certain time will occupy a certain place in the heavens.'"

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