Why Do Bees Wiggle Their Bums?

Quick Answer:

Bees use this movement to communicate with one another. But did you know that honeybees communicate through other distinct motions and methods?

Each of these movements conveys a specific message to the other colony members in the hive.  Let's learn more about each one!  Let's go.

Why do bees wiggle their bums?

Have you ever seen honeybees as they do a peculiar dance-like motion with their backsides and wondered what it is they are doing and why they are doing it and ask the question “why do bees wiggle their bum?”

We’re glad you asked, today we’ll cover some of the different communication methods bees use. Let’s take a closer look at bee communication.

First, checkout my youtube channel.  Here you can see how tiny young bee eggs are inside the brood comb. 👀

Bees Wiggle Their Bums for Communication

In order to understand bee communication, we need to understand honeybees.  Then, we will learn that not all wiggles are created equal and that the wiggle itself typically carries various indicators that are used to send information to other colony members.

The Waggle Dance

The honeybee waggle dance is a one-of-a-kind communication method that honeybees use to inform other bees about the location of food sources.


Honeybees live in colonies that can have populations ranging from a few hundred to several thousand members at any given time. These bees must rely on the assistance of other bees to make it from their hive to the flowers, where they collect nectar.


To communicate food sources, honeybees commonly use the waggle dance.  The waggle dance  is a method by which one bee may communicate with other bees about the food location so they can all proceed to the same spot.


Bees execute the waggle dance on the horizontal surface of a comb as other bees observe from below. Other bees can see the dance from below. The dancer glides forward and backwards in a figure-eight rhythm, giving the impression that they are moving in a straight path to the source of the nectar.


Calculating the distance between the hive and the source of the nectar is possible by looking at the angle at which the dancer goes forward and backwards. The further the dancer is from the starting point, the higher up on the comb they begin their routine.

For example a bee may dance 8-9 circuits in 15 seconds for a food source 200 meters away, 4-5 for a food source 1000 meters away, and 3 circuits in 15 seconds for a food source 2000 meters away.

Other honeybee signals

In addition to performing the waggle dance, honeybees have a variety of other visual and physical signals at their disposal, which they can utilize to alert and communicate with other members of the hive.

Communicating when it’s time to swarm

If a worker bee starts feverishly flapping her wings while moving through the hive, it is an obvious signal to the other worker bees that it is almost time to leave the colony. This signal is often used to indicate that a colony is leaving a hive, which also starts the process of the colony swarming.

Honeybee abdomen wiggle

If you can see the bee's entire abdomen pulsating, there is a good possibility that this is not a method of communication but rather the bee breathing in and out.

Although bees do not possess lungs as humans do, they can carry out the same procedure that we associate with breathing. The body of a honeybee is perforated with many minute pores that are so small they are invisible to the naked eye. These openings are known as spiracles, and each one is connected to a series of tubes known as tracheae that enable the bee to take in oxygen and exhale it.

In most cases, this processor dispersal happens without the bee making any discernible movement. Honeybees can produce a pulsating motion in their abdomens because their tracheae are pushed to work harder while performing strenuous activities like searching for nectar and pollen. These activities include foraging.


What Is the Significance of Bees Lifting Their Tails into The Air?

Honeybee workers will frequently raise their tails in the air while in the presence of other workers from the same hive.  Although it could seem humorous at first glance, this serves an essential function in the field of communication.


A gland known as a Nasonov gland may be found on the end of the tail of worker bees. This gland is responsible for releasing the Nasonov fragrance, which is utilized by bees to identify sites that have not been visited before, such as food or water sources.


It's interesting to note that queen bees may also utilize this fragrance to find their hive when returning after a mating flight trip.

Are you scared of honeybees? Read more about bee stings, here.

Learn how to protect yourself from bee stings here.

Thank you for reading, we love honeybees!



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