Happy #pollinatormonday from the most charismatic of all pollinators: the honeybee. The highly adaptable honeybee makes its home on every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica. This honeybee is lightly dusted with pollen, a result of visiting up to 2,000 flowers per day in the summertime. Honeybees are masters of communication and can alert other bees in their hive of the location of food and other resources by performing a complex movement called the “waggle dance”. The bee will “waggle” its body in relation to the resource’s location using the sun as an orientation point, and will have different movements and speeds for the distance and direction of the food. If the sun changes its location in the time it takes the bee to return to the hive, it knows to account for this change and will still convey correct information to its coworkers. The other workers in the hive read this information and can then work together to bring the resources back to the hive. The language of honeybees is regarded as the most complex and symbolic of all animal communications, and scientists still don’t fully understand the depth of its complexity. Austrian ethologist Karl von Frisch was the first to crack the code of the waggle dance and won the Nobel Prize for this eye-opening discovery in 1973. This little bee’s job is to forage all day, but despite all its hard work, a single honeybee will only produce about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime. Honey packs a powerful punch, though, as just an ounce of it could fuel a single bee to fly all the way around the world. Now that’s efficiency!
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