Friday, October 03, 2008

Bee Swarms Follow 'Streaker' to New Nest

Streaker Honeybees Play Follow-The-Leaders
By Laura Sanders, Science News, 10/2/2008

She buzzes through the springtime air at breakneck speed, whizzing past slower bees as she makes, forgive me, a beeline to her new home. She is an Apis mellifera streaker, a honeybee, and researchers just found that her fast flight is what guides her 10,000 hive-mates to new digs. Her mad dash has finally been caught on film and is slated to appear in an upcoming Journal of Experimental Biology.

When a hive moves to a new home, only 3 to 5 percent of the bees in the hive, likely the older bees, know where to fly. A long-standing question has been: How do they lead the rest of their group to the right spot?

“This has been a mystery as long as beekeepers have been watching bees,” says coauthor Thomas Seeley of Cornell University. Seeley teamed up with engineers Kevin Schultz and Kevin Passino from Ohio State University in Columbus to solve the riddle…

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