Bees Make the Minnesota ‘Ope!’ Noise when Surprised
You know that noise we all make when we almost accidentally run into each other? You're walking down a narrow hallway and when you gotta pass someone you both make an "ope!" noise. Turns out bees do the same thing!
Honeybees send out vibrating pulses and for the longest time it was thought to be a signal to other bees to stop what they are doing, but it turns out it might actually be an expression of surprise! Martin Bencsik and colleagues at Nottingham Trent University in the UK conducted a study to find out just why the bees make this strange "whoop" vibration. Back in the 50's research was done lead scientists to believe the noise was one bee asking another bee for food, but Bencsik's study found the bees making the sound far too often to be requesting a snack. By placing cameras inside of a hive, the researchers discovered that the 'whoop" often happens when a bee bumps into another bee. Just like Minnesotans bumping into each other! Martin Bencsik said:
“We suggest that, in the majority of instances, it is bees being startled that produce the signal,” says Bencsik. The team propose that instead of the “stop” signal, it should be called the “whooping” signal.
Turns out Honeybees and Minnesotans have more in common than any of us thought!