Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Darrell Moore

Thesis Professor Department

Biological Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Aruna Kilaru, Joy Wachs


Past studies of honey bee populations, in both natural and laboratory settings have allowed researchers to elucidate the dance language of honey bees within the hive. While the intent and meaning of the waggle dance is thoroughly understood, the area within the hive on which the bees dance is poorly understood. Several factors that may contribute to waggle dancing were studied: substrate, scent and hive entrance proximity. Two separate honey bee colonies were placed in three-frame observation hives. After establishing the dance floor, new experimental conditions were introduced by changing the position of the frames and watching for three days per experimental manipulation. Every experimental manipulation but one was followed by an adjustment period, which lasted at least a couple of days. Dancers eventually resumed dancing close to the hive entrance, though a possible predisposition towards brood and/or capped brood substrates was noted on two occasions. Some bees appeared to follow the old dance floor, but this apparent tendency quickly dissipated. Proximity to hive entrance appears to be the determining factor, and any influence of substrate and scent is secondary.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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