18:20 15 February 2017
Scientists have discovered that honeybees produce a whoop sound with their wing muscles when they’re started by a surprise stimulus. They said that the noise, which takes place in many different circumstances, can be used to monitor the stress status of a colony.
In the past, it was thought that the whoop sound, which the bees make very frequently mainly at night, was a stop signal to warn other bees to stop foraging in a particular location. However, the new study found that when a bee tries to stop another from foraging, it head-butts the bee doing the waggle dance.
Nottingham Trent University researchers, who conducted the study over a period of nine months, studied two hives: one in the UK for four months and the other in France. They used accelerometers, an instrument used to measure vibrations, in the middle of a honeycomb to carefully listen to the sound.
The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
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