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North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium

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Presentation on theme: "North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium"— Presentation transcript:

1 North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium
Honey Bee Senses North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium August

2 “When one comes to fully understand all that is represented in the combs within his hives, he is well on his way toward success.” Dr. C.C. Miller

3 Communications Vision & Color Sense Smell & Taste Touch & Hearing
Orientation Mental Capacity

4 How do Bees Communicate?
Language Honey Bees communicate the Source, Productiveness, Direction, and Distance, of forage from the hive by using a unique Waggle Dance. Chemical Pheromones secreted by the bees results in a specific behavioral response in the individual bee and sometimes the entire hive. Vision Honey Bees use a set of compound eyes for polarized light vision, and three Ocelli eyes located on top of her head for light sensitivity. Sensory Honey Bees use body hairs, and specialized Receptors to perceive their environment .

5 Vision and Color Sense Bees have two spherical shaped Compound Eyes to distinguish high contrast shapes and patterns. The Honey Bee also has three eyes located in the top of its head called Ocelli. These eyes are believed used for navigation, and are useful to the bee in varying light conditions.

6 Vision and Color Sense A bees compound eye has over 6900 facets.
Each lens is transparent with a fixed focal length.

7 Vision and Color Sense No image can be formed on the bee’s retina. The complete captured image is a mosaic of small dots of varying degrees of brightness 1/100th of the perception of Human sight. The bees fusion frequency, a measure of sensitivity to flicker is about 300 cycles per second as compared to a human of 30 cycles per second. This allows her to recognize the shape of objects while she is in rapid flight.

8 Vision and Color Sense A Honey Bee sees movement five times faster than the human eye. The Bees compound eye is efficient enough to enable the bee to recognize landmarks as she approaches the hive.

9 Vision and Color Sense The compound eye of the bee can differentiate with one degree of accuracy. Compared To the human eye which has a 1/16th degree of accuracy. Bees can distinguish between patterns as long as they are sufficiently different in amount of brokenness. Bees cannot distinguish between the shapes in the top row, nor between those in the bottom row. But they can distinguish those in the top from those in the bottom.

10 Vision and Color Sense Bees are red blind, and visualize this color as a light shade of Grey or Black. Bee Color vision is shifted to the to the shorter wavelengths giving them vision into the Ultra Violet range. Bees are particularly sensitive to blue, yellow and blue-green and can detect light intensity only 1/20 as well as humans.

11 Vision and Color Sense The bees ability to see into the Ultra Violet region allows them to see special patterns on flowers that can direct bees to the nectar sources.

12 Smell & Taste How do they do it?
The Antenna is extremely important to the honey bee, providing the means of smell, touch and taste. Bees perceive smell much the same way as we do, except olfactory receptors are on the antennae of the insect.

13 Smell & Taste Each Antenna consist of 12 segments.
The first segment is the longest and it is followed by an elbow. (Johnston’s Organ) The exoskeleton of each antenna is completely covered with feather like hairs, pore plates, pits, pegs, and other structures that perceive stimuli.

14 Smell & Taste Nature has created the honey-bee with taste organs insensitive to sweetness. Bees use only flowers that have a 40% - 75% nectar sugar content because it will meet her nutritional value. Honey Bees sweetness detection as compared to other species: 1. Butterfly Man 2. Fish Honey-Bee Each colony has their own odor and is distinguishable by bees, and is the social cement that holds the hive together.

15 Smell & Taste The honey bee society can not function without effective communications. Dance notwithstanding, most honey bee communications occur by use of smell and taste. The bee has the capability to select odor communication clues over dance language information. If several kinds of plants are in bloom at the same time, those with the most and sweetest nectar causes the liveliest dances. (Species Diversity Preference)

16 Smell & Taste Smell receptors are general and others may receive very specific chemicals odors of food or pheromones. The antenna receptors have been tested and can detect over 700 floral scents. The tongue (Glossa) has many taste, smell, and touch sense organs. Bees have an innate preference for sweet citrus-like smelling monoterpenes.

17 Touch & Hearing Touch sense is achieved by Mechanoreceptors located on the antenna, mouth parts, and on the exoskeleton of the Honey Bee. These Mechanoreceptors number in the millions and most are invisible except under a microscope. They can be very general, such as body hairs for touch, or very specific such as Proprioreceptors, that provide information of the relative position of parts of the body.

18 Touch & Hearing Bees use touch information to detect Gravity, and use their gravity detection ability to transform the suns angle into a magnetic angle within their dark hive. Bees also measure distance by walking, which they use in measuring the internal dimensions of a potential cavity for a new site, or during comb building. Flying bees have not been shown to respond to airborne sounds, but bees on comb respond to very loud sounds. Bees are extremely sensitive to any hive vibration. (Queens Piping by placing the thorax against the comb.)

19 Orientation Honey bees are able to communicate distance, source smell, taste, profitability of the source, and even direction using the waggle dance. The dance shows complexities of the honey bee to talk to each other abstractly. The dance does have it’s limitations. Bees cannot communicate to foragers whether to search in the trees, or at ground level for forage, or even a favorable flight path, but they do exchange odor clues that are on the body.

20 Orientation Absolute distance however, is not important to the bee. All that matters is that she can remember the perceived distance in a certain direction. They use landmarks such as lakes, trees, etc. These land marks will take precedence over the position of the sun. The bees change the suns optical angle outside the hive to a gravity orientation inside the hive. If the food source is directly toward the sun, the straight of the wiggle dance run is upward away from the gravity. If the comb is placed in a horizontal position, the dance portion will point directly to the food source.

21 Distance Communications
Orientation Honey bees have different dialects between the various races in the distance communication dances, but the directional information is conveyed in the same manner. Distance Communications Race of Bees Round Sickle Wagtail Italian – – 36 Caucasian German – 66 Carniolan None Distance in Meters

22 Orientation The straight portion is always performed with the bee orienting her body at the same position relative to gravity on the vertical comb. The orientation of the waggle axis relative to gravity specifies the azimuth direction of the food source, relative to the direction of the sun.

23 Orientation Bees measure distance by energy expended in flight. They convey the distance information on energy expenditure rather than in a linear measure. Flight conditions like a strong headwind or tailwind are automatically taken into account.

24 Orientation The length of the waggle run increases with the distance flown to reach the food source

25 Mental Capacity Time Awareness
Bees some how can measure the time segment and translate it into distance. In memory experiments, bees retain scent information for at least five days but quickly forget visual clues. Newest discoveries is that bees have the ability to detect magnetic and electrical fields. Bees use it to align their parallel beeswax combs. How they detect and use electrical field information is poorly understood.

26 Mental Capacity Time Awareness
Bees are able to make measurements by walking inside the hive. It is amazing to be able to measure bee space, and comb building dimensions. Honey bees prefer to use all their sense in combinations and simultaneously to perceive their environment. Bees are able to account for the movement of the sun by using their internal clocks. A bee can remember and separate up to nine feeding appointments per day.

27 Mental Capacity Time Awareness
The sense of time is not well understood in bees, but they can accurately measure the timing of the waggle dance. Their internal clock is accurate to within 15 minutes and since flowers typically release nectar through the course of the day bees turn up at the same location at exactly the right time every day.. Bees remember their experience of their terrain from previous flights.

28 Mental Capacity Time Awareness
Remarkably, if bees are imprisoned on their way back from a foraging trip, they accurately compensate for the passage of time in their waggle dance when returning to the hive.

29 Eat Fermented Honey Responsibly!
Don’t Fly Drunk!

30 Thank You !

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