It’s fun to investigate what people were looking for in 2016. Although there were 7,136 “Unknown search terms” which Google is keeping private, amongst those from other search engines I noticed a theme:
‘Why do bees wiggle their bums’ (3 searches)
‘Why do bees shake their bum’ (2 searches)
‘What does bees shaking it’s back mean’ (1 search)
‘pepperpot in rectum’ (1 search)
I hope my blog was able to help with the ‘pepper pot in rectum’ problem. It must have been a large bee, or a very small pepper pot.
In one of my revision posts on Bee communication for BBKA Module 6, Honey bee behaviour, I covered the various meanings of honey bee vibrations and movements. When it comes to wiggling, the waggle dance is well known, but there are many different types of honey bee dances: round, transition, wagtail, buzzing runs and the DVAV (dorsoventral abdominal vibrating dance).
However, this search suggests that some of these observers were not seeing a communication dance but something else:
‘What does it mean when a honey bees butt moves in and out?’
Bees have no lungs but move oxygen into their bodies through breathing tubes (tracheae), which are connected to surrounding air through multiple holes in their body called spiracles. In his book ‘The Biology of the Honey Bee’ (1987), Mark L.Winston explains that “When the bee is inactive gas exchange can operate simply by diffusion, but during periods of increased activity bees pump their abdomens to increase gas exchange” (p.34). This pumping movement makes the abdomen move rhythmically as oxygen goes in – which could be the ‘in and out’ movement the searcher was thinking of.