by Clarence Collison

Vibrations and sounds, collectively called vibroacoustics, play far-reaching roles in intracolony communication in love husband bees (Hunt and Richard 2013). For plenty of years it was believed that bees were entirely deaf come airborne vibrations (sound) (Goodman 2003). However, it has actually been shown that love husband bees deserve to detect the air-particle movements connected with airborne sounds (Towne and also Kirchner 1989), and also they carry out so making use of Johnston’s organ, a chorodontal body organ in the antennal pedicel (Dreller and Kirchner 1993a). Chordotonal organs room a group of mechanoreceptor sensilla the respond to stimuli ranging from gun motor activities to sound and also convert these to neural impulses (Field and also Matheson 1998). Three significant types the chordotonal offal include: the tympanal organ, Johnston’s organ and also subgenual organ. Tympanal guts are missing in Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and also ants).

You are watching: What sound does a bee make

Bees create sound not only through activity of their wings but also with your thoracic muscles. Back they use these muscles to relocate their wings, they have the right to uncouple your wings to produce heat and generate acoustic signals. Travelling sound waves have both pressure and particle activity components. Sound waves space measured by their frequency in Hertz (Hz), or cycles per second. The frequency of sound tide is heard as pitch; a higher wave frequency creates a greater pitch. Love husband bees produce many frequencies that vibration and also sound – from less than 10 to more than 1000 Hz. So much it has actually been presented that they deserve to detect sound frequencies increase to around 500 Hz (McNeil 2015).

The id that bees were completely deaf was refuted through a collection of experiments complying with the exploration that sound signals space emitted by dancing bees. Towne and also Kirchner (1989) trained bees to combine a sound through a weak electric shock. Bees learned to protect against the shock by leaving a feeder as soon as a sound signal was given. That was for this reason concluded that they can hear airborne sound. More recently another training paradigm, in i beg your pardon the bees to be trained come turn right or left as they entered a feeder, the correct means being towards the sound source, was used to identify the frequency range and amplitude thresholds of listening in bees (Kirchner et al. 1991). It turned out that bees listen airborne sound of short frequencies up to 500 Hz with enough sensitivity to choose up the sound of a dancing nestmate (Kirchner 1993). The same training technique was supplied to find out which sensory structures are supplied to choose up the sound signals created by dance bees (Dreller and also Kirchner 1993a). Sensory structures perfect for perceiving near ar sound signals are hair sensilla or the antennae. Bees which had learned come respond to sound were then manipulated by remove one or both antennae, or fixing a details joint in the antenna or remove sensory hair on the head (Kirchner 1993). These behavioral experiments revealed that the sounds space picked increase by the Johnston’s organ situated within the antennae.

The Johnston’s organs found within the love husband bees antennae (Figure 1A) space a arsenal of sensory cell that room sensitive come vibration. They are found in the second segment (pedicel) the the antennae, and each detects minute motion of the finish segment (flagellum). The antennal flagella have the right to detect motion to 20 nm and also are perceptible to low intensity stimuli the 265-350 Hz. The Johnston organ consists of end 300 nerve cell (scolopidia), arrayed in a bowl shape. They convert mechanical vibrations right into nerve impulses relayed come the brain (McNeil 2015).


Figure 1 – The Johnston’s body organ (A) and also subgenual body organ (B) are the primary receptors for vibroacoustic signal (sound). Hunt and also Richard (2013)

Air-particle oscillations (sound) reason the long, slim antennal flagellum come vibrate, and also the Johnston’s organ registers these activities (Towne 1994). This sensory system, i beg your pardon is perceptible to air vibrations up to about 500 Hz, is fine suited come detect the 200-300 Hz sounds developed by to dance bees (Kirchner et al. 1991; Kirchner 1994), and also this is the only herbal context, other than its possible use in the control of trip (Heran 1959 in Towne 1994), in i m sorry the sensory device is known to be provided (Dreller and also Kirchner 1993b).

The acoustic near ar close to love husband bees performing the wagging dance was investigated through pairs the small, matched microphones put in miscellaneous positions about the to dance bees (Michelsen et al. 1987). The run ‘sounds’ are produced by the wings, which act as an asymmetrical dipole emitter. Close to the abdomen, the ‘sound’ pressures in the wait spaces over and below the airplane of the wing are entirely out of phase. A ar of really intense acoustical short-circuiting exists close to the edges of the wings, where press gradients of about 1 Pa/mm space observed in the dorso-ventral direction (perpendicular come the aircraft of the wings). The press gradients drive air motions with velocity amplitudes increase to around 1 m/s. The pressure gradients are lot smaller in direction radially away from the bee and also decrease promptly with increasing distance from the wings. The ‘sound’ press detected by a stationary probe at one next of the bee is strong modulated in ~ 12-13 Hz as a result of the bee’s side-to-side wagging. Surprisingly tiny ‘sound’ is uncovered near the dancer’s head. The positions of the follower bees reflect the properties of the acoustic field: the follower bees ar their antennae in the zone of maximum acoustical short-circuiting where the waiting particle activities are many intense. These observations indicate 1) exactly how follower bees have the right to avoid mix up the messages lugged by the run ‘sounds’ as soon as two or much more bees room dancing only a couple of cm apart and also 2) exactly how the followers could extract information about a dancer’s spatial orientation from the acoustic near ar she produces.

Honey bee foragers usage a “waggle dance” to educate nestmates around directions and also distance to areas of attractive food. The sound and also air flows created by the dancer’s soup and abdominal vibrations have been implicated as crucial cues, however the decoding mechanisms for these run messages are poorly understood. To understand the neural instrument of honey punishment dance communication, Tsujiuchi et al. (2007) analyzed the anatomy the antenna and Johnston’s organ (JO) in the antenna, as well as the mechanical and also neural solution characteristics of antenna and also JO come acoustic stimuli, respectively. The honey punishment Johnston’s organ is composed of about 300-320 scolopidia linked with about 48 cuticular “knobs” approximately the one of the pedicel. Each scolopidium consists of bipolar sensory neurons with both kind I and II cilia. The mechanically sensitivities the the antennal flagellum are specifically high in an answer to low yet not high intensity stimuli of 265-350 Hz frequencies.

During the waggle phase, the dancer moves her body in 15 Hz waggling motions while vibrating her wings in short pulses (20 ms duration in ~ frequencies varying from 200 come 300 Hz (Michelsen et al. 1987; Spangler 1991). These wing vibrations generate weak near-field sounds that dance followers may be able to detect when they room close come the waggle dancer (Michelsen 1993).

In enhancement to airborne sound signals, substrate-borne vibrational signals are also associated v worker communication. This substrate vibrations are regarded by subgenual offal in the foot (Figure 1B). Subgenual organs room chordotonal organs situated in the tibia of every leg, just distal come the femur-tibia joint. Every subgenual organ is exposed in a hemolymph channel. Substrate vibrations (sound) got via the legs room sensed through the subgenual organs whereby they are interpreted into nerve impulses that room transmitted come the central nervous device (Hunt and also Richard 2013).

During honey bee forager recruitment dances, a dancing bee waggles her abdomen and also vibrates her wings and also in law so concurrently generates substrate-borne vibrations, near field sounds, and jets of air (Michelsen et al. 1986a; Dreller and Kirchner 1993a; Michelsen 2003), every one of which can transmit info from the dancer to monitor bees. Waggles boost the transmission of thoracic vibrations to the substrate (Tautz et al. 1996), with maximum signal transfer once the thorax is fully laterally displaced throughout a waggle (Hunt and also Richard 2013). Differed postures the bee’s legs perceive both horizontal and also vertical contents of the substrate vibrations (Sandeman et al. 1996; Rohrseitz and Kilpinen 1997), and substrate vibrations are interpreted into neural impulses via the subgenual organ (Kilpinen and Storm 1997). Waggle dances occur more frequently on open up cells in honeycomb 보다 on capped cells, and dances on open up cells more strongly lure inactive potential foragers, indicating that substrate properties are a ingredient of signal transmission (Tautz 1996). Also though substrate vibrations throughout waggle dancing transmit info from the dancing bee to bees attending the dance, the substrate vibrations might not provide certain information around the velocity and direction of the dancer throughout the waggle run (Nieh and Tautz 2000).

Intraspecific communication involves several types of vibration signals transmitted v the comb. The best known signals space the tooting and quacking signal of the honey bee queen and also the protect against signal the the worker bees (Nieh 1993). This signals all have an essential frequencies in the range 200-500 Hz, yet different temporal framework (Michelsen et al. 1986ab).


Dreller, C. And W.H. Kirchner 1993a. Hearing in honeybees: localization the the auditory sense organ. J. Comp. Physiol. A 173: 275-279.

Dreller, C. And also W.H. Kirchner 1993b. Just how bees consciousness the info in the run language. Naturwissenschaften 80: 319-321.

Field, L.H. And T. Matheson 1998. Chordotonal guts of insects. In: advancements in Insect Physiology, vol. 27 (Evans P.D., Ed) Elsevier, san Diego, CA, pp 1-228.

Goodman, L. 2003. Form and role in the honey Bee. Worldwide Bee research Association, Cardiff, UK, 220 pp.

Hunt, J.H. And F.-J. Richard 2013. Intracolony vibroacoustic interaction in social insects. Insect. Soc. 60: 405-417.

Kilpinen, O. And J. Storm 1997. Biophysics that the subgenual body organ of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. J. Comp. Physiol. A 181: 309-318.

Kirchner, W.H. 1993. Acoustical interaction in honeybees. Apidologie 24: 297-307.

Kirchner, W.H. 1994. Hear in honeybees: The mechanical response of the bee’s antenna to near field sound. J. Comp. Physiol. A 175: 261-265.

Kirchner, W.H., C. Dreller and also W.F. Towne 1991. Hear in honeybees: Operant conditioning and also spontaneous reactions to airborne sound. J. Comp. Physiol. A 168: 85-89.

McNeil, M.E.A. 2015. Sound of the hive part 1. Am. Punishment J. 155(9): 985-989.

Michelsen, A. 1993. The move of information in the dance language of honeybees: progress and problems. J. Comp. Physiol. A 173: 135-141.

Michelsen, A. 2003. Signals and also flexibility in the dance interaction of honeybees. J. Comp. Physiol. A 189: 165-174.

Michelsen, A., W.H. Kirchner and M. Lindauer 1986a. Sound and also vibrational signals in the dance language that the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 18: 207-212.

Michelsen, A., W.H. Kirchner, B.B. Andersen and also M. Lindauer 1986b. The tooting and also quacking vibration signal of honey bee queens: a quantitative analysis. J. Comp. Physiol. A 158: 605-611.

Michelsen, A., W.F. Towne, W.H. Kirchner and also P. Kryger 1987. The acoustic near field of a to dance honeybee. J. Comp. Physiol. A 161: 633-643.

Nieh, J.C. 1993. The avoid signal of honey bees: reconsidering its message. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 33: 51-56.

Nieh, J.C. And J. Tautz 2000. Behaviour-locked signal analysis reveals weak 200-300 Hz comb vibrations throughout the honeybee waggle dance. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 1573-1579.

Rohrseitz, K. And also O. Kilpinen 1997. Vibration transmission features of the legs of openly standing honeybees. Zoology 100:80-84.

Sandeman, D.C., J. Tautz and M. Lindauer 1996. Transmission of vibration throughout honeycombs and also its detection by bee leg receptors. J. Exp. Biol. 199: 2585-2594.

Spangler, H. G. 1991. Execute honey bees encode distance details into the wing vibrations of the waggle dance? J. Insect Behav. 4:15–20.

Tautz, J. 1996. Honeybee waggle dance: recruitment success relies on the run floor. J. Exp. Biol. 199: 1375-1381.

Tautz, J., K. Rohrseitz and also D.C. Sandeman 1996. One-strided waggle run in bees. Nature 382: 32.

Towne, W.F. 1994. Frequency distinguish in the hearing of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). J. Insect Behav. 8: 281-286.

See more: How Many Cups Of Flour Are In A Pound Of Flour? How Many Cups Of All Purpose Flour In 1 Pound

Towne, W.F. And also W.H. Kirchner 1989. Hear in love husband bees: detection of air-particle oscillations. Science 244: 686-688.

Tsujiuchi, S., E. Sivan-Loukianova, D.F. Eberl, Y. Kitagawa and also T. Kadowaki 2007. Dynamic selection compression in the honey bee auditory system toward waggle run sounds. PLoS ONE 2(2): e234.Clarence Collison is an Emeritus Professor the Entomology and also Department Head Emeritus of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.