Bees Do the Wave to Defend Themselves and It Is Mesmerizing

While many people would not want to see millions of bees at the same time, their synchronized movements are actually nothing short of beautiful. The ripple of bees, or bees doing the wave, is a response to the predatory threat of hornets hovering nearby. They move their abdomens in sync as a defensive wave that may confuse the hornets. But they end up looking more like people doing the wave in a stadium. It sounds like a stadium full of vuvuzelas too.

They bees create fluid-looking waves that ripple out like the aftermath of rocks thrown into a pond. But there’s no rocks involved. That would probably lead to a completely different situation. The video above shows huge combs of bees waving their bodies in unison and it’s quite a sight to behold.

We learned about this phenomenon on Boing Boing. It’s clearly something other people have known about for awhile. But, as with the BBC presenter in the video above, it’s a new and amazing behavior I had never seen before. But this isn’t the only bee behavior I’m happy to see only on YouTube and not in person. Whether that involves swarming cars in grocery store parking lots or screaming at murder hornets, I’m happy to learn see these moments through my computer screen. Though it is nice to know that bees really do always stick together. 

A wave appears in a colony of thousands of bees as they move in sync
BBC Earth

The colonies in the video look just like the honeycomb that Bill Murray, I mean Baloo, is interested in harvesting in the live-action version of The Jungle Book. I had also never seen beehives in that shape before seeing the movie. There’s always more to learn!

Featured Image: BBC Earth

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. The name Melissa means “honeybee” in Greek. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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