Original Published Date: 
Monday, January 6, 2014

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science and Queensland Brain Institute

New research supported by the ARC has found that honeybees use a pattern of light in the sky invisible to humans to direct one another to a honey source.

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science have demonstrated that even on days when the sun doesn't shine, bees can navigate to and from a honey source by reading the pattern of polarised light in the sky and then explain to other bees where to find it with their 'waggle dance'.

The image shown here is a schematic representation of a honeybee flying down a tunnel that is illuminated with polarized overhead light, in an experiment to investigate how honeybees use information from the polarization pattern in the sky to signal the direction of a food source to their nest mates.