Navigation Links
Bee swarms follow high-speed 'streaker' bees to find a new nest
Date:10/2/2008

It's one of the hallmarks of spring: a swarm of bees on the move. But how a swarm locates a new nest site when less than 5% of the community know the way remains a mystery. Curious to find out how swarms cooperate and are guided to their new homes, Tom Seeley, a neurobiologist from Cornell University, and engineers Kevin Schultz and Kevin Passino from The Ohio State University teamed up to find out how swarms are guided to their new home and publish their findings on October 3rd 2008 in The Journal of Experimental Biology, http://jeb.biologists.org.

According to Schultz there are two theories on how swarms find the way. In the 'subtle guide' theory, a small number of scout bees, which had been involved in selecting the new nest site, guide the swarm by flying unobtrusively in its midst; near neighbours adjust their flight path to avoid colliding with the guides while more distant insects align themselves to the guides' general direction. In the 'streaker bee' hypothesis, bees follow a few conspicuous guides that fly through the top half of the swarm at high speed.

Schultz explains that Seeley already had still photographs of the streaks left by high-speed bees flying through a swarm's upper layers, but what Seeley needed was movie footage of a swarm on the move to see if the swarm was following high-velocity streakers or being unobtrusively directed by guides. Passino and Seeley decided to film swarming bees with high-definition movie cameras to find out how they were directed to their final destination.

But filming diffuse swarms spread along a 12m length with each individual on her own apparently random course is easier said than done. For a start you have to locate your camera somewhere along the swarm's flight path, which is impossible to predict in most environments. The team overcame this problem by relocating to Appledore Island, which has virtually no high vegetation for swarms to settle on. By transporting large colonies of bees, complete with queen, to the island, the team could get the insects to swarm from a stake to the only available nesting site; a comfortable nesting box. Situating the camera on the most direct route between the two sites, the team successfully filmed several swarms' chaotic progress at high resolution.

Back in Passino's Ohio lab, Schultz began the painstaking task of analysing over 3500 frames from a swarm fly-by to build up a picture of the insects' flight directions and vertical position. After months of bee-clicking, Schultz was able to find patterns in the insects' progress. For example, bees in the top of the swarm tended to fly faster and generally aimed towards the nest, with bees concentrated in the middle third of the top layer showing the strongest preference to head towards the nest. Schultz also admits that he was surprised at how random the bees' trajectories were in the bottom half of the swarm, 'they were going in every direction,' he says, but the bees that were flying towards the new nest generally flew faster than bees that were heading in other directions; they appeared to latch onto the high-speed streakers. All of which suggests that the swarm was following high-speed streaker bees to their new location.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathryn Phillips
kathryn@biologists.com
44-012-234-25525
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ecologist finds dire devastation of snake species following floods of 93, 95
2. LSU professor studies army-ant-following birds
3. Researchers take first steps towards spinal cord reconstruction following injury
4. BIO-key(R) and Tiger IT Awarded a Follow-on Contract for Nationwide Voter / Citizen Registration in Bangladesh
5. MNI researchers locate neurological basis of depression following sports concussion
6. Ants and avalanches: Insects on coffee plants follow widespread natural tendency
7. Wandering albatrosses follow their nose
8. When following the leader can lead into the jaws of death
9. Following traumatic brain injury, balanced nutrition saves lives
10. Researchers block damage to fetal brain following maternal alcohol consumption
11. NSF awards Williams funding for high-speed imaging faciltity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... According to a new market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market ... Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by ... 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... -- Valencell , the leading innovator in performance ... third consecutive year of triple digit growth for its ... a 360 percent increase in companies who have acquired ... by sales of its wrist and ear Benchmark™ sensor ... for hearables for fitness and healthcare applications. ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016 Not many of us realize that we spend ? of ... we need to do it well. Inadequate sleep levels have been found to lead ... diabetes, and even cancer. Maybe now is the best time to rethink ... them to manage their sleep quality? Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016  OncoSec Medical Incorporated ("OncoSec") ... DNA-based intratumoral cancer immunotherapies, today announced financial results ... "We are delivering on our commitment to ... ImmunoPulse® IL-12. We are pleased with the early ... trial, and we are focused on advancing our ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Renova™ Therapeutics, ... congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes, announced ... a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector developed in ... M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. The company plans ... paracrine gene therapy product pipeline. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... December 8, 2016 ... Molekulargenetik, erweitert seine Palette an anpassbaren SureSeq™ NGS-Panels ... FH Panels, das ein schnelles und kostengünstiges Studium ... Panel bietet eine Erkennung von Einzel-Nukleotid-Variationen (Single Nucleotide ... einem einzigen kleinen Panel und ermöglicht eine individuelle ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, ... ... announces the commercial launch of flexible packaging for their exceptionally efficient human ... bag system extends RoosterBio’s portfolio of bioprocess media products engineered to radically ...
Breaking Biology Technology: