Dance of the Honeybee

Whenever a busy honeybee
finds delicious flower food,
she tells her sisters where by dancing.
When flowers are far from the hive,
she does the Waggle Dance.
She runs across the sheet of a hanging honeycomb,
and traces the shape of a figure eight.
Between the loops of the figure eight,
the honeybee waggles her body and beats her wings into a buzz.
Her wings make a tiny breeze, and in the dark of the hive,
her sisters sense her movements through their two antennae.

The honeybee pauses her dance
to give out samples of the nectar.
Her sisters crowd around to taste.

Then the honeybee continues to dance.
If she waggles when she faces up,
toward the 12 on a clock,
her sisters know to find the flowers
by flying toward the sun.
If she waggles when she faces down,
her sisters fly away from the sun.
If she waggles when she faces left,
her sisters find the flowers
by flying to the left of the sun.
If she waggles when she faces right,
the flowers will be found to the right of the sun.

When flowers are close to the hive,
she tells her sisters where
by dancing the honeybee Round Dance.
She circles and runs on the honeycomb,
then turns and circles back.
The closer the flowers are to the hive,
the faster the honeybee dances.
The sweeter the flower nectar tastes,
the longer she does her Round Dance.

The honeybee dances in the dark.
Her sisters in the hive grow more and more excited.
First some, then more,
a hundred, a thousand rush out of the hive
and fly toward the flower feast.
They know exactly where to find it,
for when a honeybee finds some sweetness,
she tells her sisters where by dancing!

©Susa Silvermarie 2023


Gould, James L. and Gould, Carol Grant. The Honey Bee. New York: Scientific American Library, 1995

Kirchner, Wolfgang H. and Towne, William F. “The Sensory Basis of the Honeybee’s Dance Language”. Scientific American. 12 September 03 <>

No author listed. “Dances With Bees”. Public Broadcasting Service. 12 Sept 03. < >

Spivak, Marla. Assoc. Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota. Personal Interview. 7 October 2003

Von Frisch, Karl. The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1967

2 Responses to “Dance of the Honeybee