Did you know a large part of how bees select their nest is through the power of a dance? Mind blowing, right?! Since honey is a part of our business, understanding the remarkable creatures who create it is important to us.
Nest-site selection by honeybee swarms is a highly distributed decision-making process that usually occurs in the spring when a colony outgrows its hive and divides itself by swarming.
Until they find a comfortable and spacious place to call home, most of the bees wait in a tree branch while a few hundred scouts explore new prospects.
This is a huge change in behavior from visiting light and bright flowers to instead seeking out dark confined spaces.
The scout bees then return to the group and pitch their idea of how good a particular location is by performing a unique dance known as a ‘waggle’. This dance has a code that indicates the site’s location and details. Based on the relative vigor of their dance, the bees shortlist the location and estimate which of the more strongly recommended locations should be the site of their new home.
Once the bees select their location, the hive doesn’t move.