Old honeybees make a drumming sound to get young slackers working

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honey bees

Drumming up a workforce

Zhanna Tretiakova / Alamy

Sometimes a honeybee hive is not quite buzzing, and the workers need a signal to get busy. For the first time, scientists have made extensive recordings of a drumming sound some honeybees make to order their colleagues to get to work.

We’ve known about this “dorso-ventral abdominal vibration” (DVAV) signal for about 90 years, and some biologists have captured video of bees producing the sound – but these earlier studies have only monitored bees for short periods during the day. Now Martin Bencsik at Nottingham Trent University, UK, and his colleagues have analysed a year’s worth of data from devices that record vibrations in …

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