A honeybee informs her nestmates about the location of a profitable food source that she has visited by means of a waggle dance: a round dance and a figure-of-eight dance for a short- and long-distance food source, respectively. Consequently, the colony achieves an effective collection of food. However, it is still not fully understood how much effect the dance behavior has on the food collection, because most of the relevant experiments have been performed only in limited locations under limited experimental conditions. Here, we examined the efficacy of the waggle dances by physically preventing bees from dancing and then analyzing the changes in daily mass of the hive as an index of daily food collection. To eliminate place- and year-specific effects, the experiments were performed under fully natural conditions in three different cities in Japan from mid September to early October in three different years. Because the experiments were performed in autumn, all six of the tested colonies lost mass on most of the experimental days. When the dance was prevented, the daily reduction in mass change was greater than when the dance was allowed, i.e. the dance inhibited the reduction of the hive mass. This indicates that dance is effective for food collection. Furthermore, clear inhibition was observed on the first two days of the experiments; after that, inhibition was no longer evident. This result suggests that the bee colony adapted to the new environment.
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