Biological insights into robotics: Honeybee foraging behavior by a waggle dance

Ryuichi Okada*, Hidetoshi Ikeno, Hitoshi Aonuma, Etsuro Ito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A honeybee informs her nestmates of flower locations by a unique behavior called a 'waggle dance'. We regard this behavior as a good model of the 'propagation and sharing of knowledge' to maintain a society. We have attempted to reveal how this dance benefits the colony using mathematical models and computer simulation based on parameters obtained from observations of bee behavior. Our simulation indicated that the most successful forages were made by a putative bee colony that used the dance to communicate. Video analysis of worker honeybee behavior in the field showed that a bee does not dance in a single, random place in the hive, but waggles several times in one place and several times in another. The orientation and duration of waggle runs varied from run to run, within ranges of ±15° and ±15%, respectively. We also found that most of the bees that listened to the waggle dance turned away from the dancer after listening to one or two runs. These data suggest that honeybees use the waggle dance as a method of communication, but that they must base their forages on ambiguous information about the location of a food source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1665-1681
Number of pages17
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Dance language
  • Foraging
  • Information sharing
  • Mathematical model
  • Multi-agent system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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