Defensive Waves Ripple Through Honey Bee Colony

While building a comb off the branch of a tree, a colony of honey bees in Vietnam engaged in a defensive wave, a process that sends murmuring ripples down the line in order to keep predators away. While this wave function is purely utilitarian, the resulting audio-visual effect is absolutely fascinating.

This ‘wave’ is utilized against wasps and is referred to as ‘shimmering’ behavior or defense waving. Bees in the outer layer thrust their abdomens 90° in an upward direction and shake them in a synchronous way. …The signal is transmitted to nearby workers that also adopt the posture, thus creating a visible, and audible ‘ripple’ effect across the face of the comb.