BEE NAVIGATION


Instrumentation:
Solo clarinet

Available From:
Oxford University Press, available as part of the "Spectrum for Clarinet" collection through Music Room

Composer's Notes:
On returning to the hive, a foraging bee tells the hive that it has found nectar and physically telegraphs precise navigational directions for its hive-mates.  The bees, especially the inexperienced foragers, crowd the scout in a scrum-like formation, getting the message by jostling and touching the bee with their bodies and antennae. It dances on the comb in one of two ways—the round dance and the tail wagging dance. The round dance indicates that the bee has found pollen or nectar within 50 miles of the of the hive and the tail-wagging dance means it has found them 100 miles or more away. The distances in between are indicated by a gradual change-over from one kind of dance to the other. With this information, the bees fly to and gather the nectar, returning to the hive by reversing the navigational directions.1
 
1 Maurice Burton, The Sixth Sense of Animals, pp 132-135 (Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1972).