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Dancing with Bees: the Amazing Waggle Dance

Bee Swarm - Bee Removal Long BeachHoney bees are incredibly organized creatures. In one short season, the colony’s honey bee workers will visit up to 500.000.000 flowers and will make about 90 kilograms of honey. Bees don’t fly in groups, so each bee finds the nectar source individually. But have you ever wondered how these bees can suddenly know precisely where the blooming flowers are?

It’s because they have a remarkable method of telling one another where to find the most productive flowers. This is called the “. Their intriguingly intelligent behavior and the language they developed is quite useful when the food is difficult to find or the food sources differ in quality.

Our Bee Busters experts, that offer bee removal in Mission Viejo and other Orange County communities, present some facts about their astonishing way of communication.

How is the dance performed?

Diligent honey bees search vast expanses for the best flowers and when a bee finds a new rich source of nectar, she goes back to the hive to tell her fellow workers all about it.

To get their attention, the bee climbs on her sister’s backs and vibrates her abdomen. Then she begins a carefully choreographed dance to tell the others where her discovery lies. The dancing bee moves in a straight line called the waggle run and then circles back making a figure-eight shape by alternating between left and right return paths.

During the waggle dance, the bee vibrates her wings and wags her body from side to side approximately 13 to 15 times a second. The sound she emits by her wings and the physical contact between the dancer and her fellow bees enables transmission of information in complete darkness.

What does it mean?

The dance passes on information based on two elements: the distance and direction from a hive to a food source. Other information like quality and abundance of food might be encoded in the dance or in pheromones released by the bee.

The duration and length of the waggle run indicate the distance to the nectar source. The longer the distance, the farther the flower is from the hive. In general, one second equals one kilometer. When food is within a few meters of the hive, the central part of the waggle dance will turn into a circular dance.

The angle of the bee dance tells them the direction of the flower in relation to the sun. For example, if the bee dances directly upward, other bees know they should fly directly towards the sun when they leave the hive.

These instructions are amazingly accurate and can pinpoint the location of the nectar source over 6 kilometers. After the performance, some of the bees are going to departure immediately to find the location themselves.

Who discovered it and when?

Aristotle was one of the first people who noted it and an Austrian ethologist Karl von Frisch was the one who decoded it. He discovered the bee dance in the 1920s and developed an ingenious marking system of tracking individual honey bees. He then continued to conduct various experiments through the 1960s to explore the purpose and meaning of the bee dances, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1973. This way his work was ultimately recognized, after the initial skepticism he received for the theory he first described in his book “The Dancing Bees” in 1927.

This type of communication is highly unusual and unique to honey bees. It still remains a source of fascination. 

Bee removal Mission Viejo, the best service in Orange County

If you’ve noticed bees or a beehive on your property, don’t attempt to remove them yourself. It’s best to look for a bee removal Mission Viejo company to deal with any bee situation you might have.

With over 30 years of experience in providing Orange County bee removal and control services, Bee Busters are at your service night and day. We are experts in removing honey bees, yellow jackets, bumble bees, carpenter bees and wasps. Being dedicated to the honey bees, we also perform a live removal and relocation of any bees or beehives that might be causing you agitation. 


Africanized bees

They were the real scare in the previous decades, but not much has been heard about Africanized bees lately. There was a report last year which stirred some panic, but it proved to be false, so the dust settled once again. This article aims to shed some light on these creatures, how they came to be, their behavior and other matters. Keep in mind that these bees do exist in real life and they did cause hundreds of deaths in the 50 or so years they have existed.

If you happen to encounter a colony, do not engage them, and if it is found on your property, call the experts to get rid of them. The best bee removal in Westminster and throughout Orange County comes from Bee Busters.

The inception

As their name suggests, their origin can be traced back to Africa. The bees on that continent needed to develop aggressive behavior and strength in order to survive the harsh conditions as well as the abundance of predators. Scientists believed that these traits would be ideal when paired with the more productive and docile European bees. The experiments started in Brazil in 1956. The breeding was successful, creating hybrid Africanized honeybees. However, the scientists failed to contain the bees to Brazil.

What went wrong?

The bees spread incredibly fast. Being stronger and more aggressive than their European counterparts, they were able to oust them from their ecological niche. By the early 1970’s, the bees reached the northern part of South America in Venezuela. The next decade saw them migrate to Mexico, until finally in the 1990’s they reached the southern USA. Initially, they caused a lot of problems with their aggression and persistence, so that created the myth of ‘killer bees’ which caused widespread panic. The country is still adapting to their arrival. They are not expected to travel any more north, as cold climates do not suit them.


Like most bees, Africanized bees are very territorial. However, unlike most other species of bees, they are incredibly persistent and aggressive when they feel threatened. While most bees will break off the pursuit fairly quickly, these bees will pursue their target. It takes approximately 6 to 7 stings per LB, to inject enough venom into an average human to cause death. This, naturally, provided that there is no allergic reaction. So a 200 LB person would need 1200 to 1400 stings to be fatal. While this sounds like a lot of bee stings,  Africanized bees are more than capable of such attacks. An average colony can have between 10,000 and 20,000 bees, and often much more. A queen can lay up to 2500 eggs per day.


However, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about them in the media. For instance, they are often represented as being much larger than regular bees. This is in fact very wrong, as they are typically smaller than their European cousins we are familiar with. So then, is their body count a result of the more potent venom? Once again, no. In fact, there is no difference between the venoms of these two species. And even if you consider the amounts of venom they possess, you might be surprised to once again learn that a regular honey bee is the winner of this comparison as well. So it is only their aggressive nature that sets them apart.

Not killer bees after all

A report from Puerto Rico shows that the same Africanized bees are much more docile there, as a result of less competition. So, their ‘killer bee’ reputation is perhaps too harsh, and depends solely on the conditions.

In any case, you should not attempt to remove bees yourself. There are professionals who have the right equipment and training. Bee removal in Westminster in Orange County is a job for Bee Busters. Contact Bee Busters for any further information.