Bees’ sense of direction

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Bee’s sense of direction remains a scientific mystery. Indeed we know foraging bees can leave their hives to find flowers and come back to the exact same location, but we don’t really understand how !
Karl Von Frisch, in 1967, is the first one to understand that bee’s sense of direction and dances relies on the complex articulation of visual, magnetic and olfactory senses.

Visual sense

Bees’ visual sense is the core element of their sense of direction, as one one would expect knowing bees have 5 eyes! Yes you read right, bees have 5 eyes, two large ones on the side of their head, and three smaller ones through which they can see in dark environment. Their visual sense is influenced by the sun, colours, shapes and movement, just like human’s is. They also use ultraviolet radiation, which can go through clouds, and the sunlight. Scientific experiences show that they can also find their way in terrible weather conditions and under the rain.
Every beekeeper have had the crazy experience of moving their hives and finding their foraging bees coming back to the exact spot of the previous hive.

Magnetic and olfactory sense

Scientific facts have proven bees use magnetic field to navigate and find flowers. Bees have magnetic particles, at the top of their abdomen, that help them detect any shift in the weather or their location.
The last way they can navigate is their sense of smell, as foraging bees do when they are looking for flowers, which is also essential when they communicate through dancing.


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