Honey bee foraging profitability and round dance correlates

Keith D. Waddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The purpose is to examine the relationships between several aspects of the honey bee's round dance and the caloric costs and gains and net gains per time experienced by bees while foraging between two artificial flowers. The distance between the two flowers and the concentration of nectar rewards were varied. Nine bees were tested, each over several days. Of the three dance variables examined, the number of reversals in the dance per minute (RATE) most often gave the highest and consistently signed correlation coefficients when paired with the mean caloric reward received per flower visit (CALGAIN), the net caloric gain per unit time (NET), and the mean caloric cost to fly to and visit a flower (CALCOST). In general, RATE is positively correlated with CALGAIN (range of positive coefficients, 0.12 to 0.50) and NET (range, 0.15 to 0.40) and negatively correlated with CALCOST (range, -0.01 to -0.28). Additionally, the probability of dancing after foraging is generally positively associated with CALGAIN and negatively associated with CALCOST. The results suggest that caloric gains and costs may be integrated by the bee and output as a measure of "profitability" in the form of the round dance. This information may be communicated to potential recruits, although this is not demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology □ A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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