Busy bees can fumble like tired humans

Bees that get little rest can fumble like tired and stressed humans, a study shows.

London: Bees that get little rest can fumble like tired and stressed humans, a study shows.

Worker bees have the important job of letting their hive-mates know where to find food. They perform a `waggle dance` containing coded directions to nectar-rich flowers.

But if deprived of sleep, their ability to communicate falters, scientists say. Their dances become sloppier and less precise than those of rested bees, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

Barrett Klein, from the University of Austin, Texas, said: "When deprived of sleep, humans typically experience a diminished ability to perform a variety of tasks, including communicating clearly or precisely."

"We found that sleep-deprived honey bees also experienced communication problems. They advertised the direction to a food site less precisely to their fellow bees."

The research involved disturbing sleeping bees with a magnetic device aptly named the `insominator`, according to the Daily Mail.

As the magnet was waved over bees fitted with small metallic backpacks, it caused them to be jostled around and woken up.

After a sleepless night, the behaviour of the insects was compared with that of rested bees. Fatigue was found to have a noticeable effect on the quality of their waggle dances.

"The dance was not necessarily wrong, but it was less precise than dances performed by bees that were not sleep-deprived," said Klein.

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