Do Bees Have Ears? (Answered)

The short answer to the question, “do bees have ears” is no. Honey bees make use of the whole of their bodies for hearing.

This might leave you wondering about how they hear sounds, and communicate with each other, or if they even hear sounds since they don’t have ears.

Well, truthfully bees do not have ears, but this fact does not completely rule out the fact that they can hear sounds.

They might not have ears, but they can hear,  just not through the use of ears.

This might be confusing because humans make out sounds with their ears, and this is the same with animals, but completely different with bees.

Do bees have any ears?

Do Bees Have Ears

No, bees do not have any ears, but their function of hearing is provided by their antenna.

For several years, it was believed that the bee is incapable of hearing sounds because they do not have ears. However, the bee’s antenna is their powerhouse.

The antenna is what bees rely on for their sense of touch, smell, taste and even hearing.

Now, what makes it possible for bees to make out sounds through their antenna?

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Sound is simply a vibration at different frequencies that can be detected with the ears.

Truly, animals and humans make use of their ears in detecting sounds, however, there is no laid down a rule of nature anywhere that dictates that the ear is a “vibration detection apparatus”.

So, when a creature has a way or a mechanism through which it is able to detect vibrations, it can “hear”.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do bees have tongues

How good is a bee’s hearing?

Honey bees go about their work in the most coordinated way which goes a long way to display how well they communicate amongst themselves.

The bees’ antennae which can also be called flagella can be used by the bee to detect movements up to  20 nm, and they are sensitive to low intensity stimuli of 265-350 Hz.

The antennae also have some sensory cells on them which are known as “The Johnston organ.

The Johnston organ consists of over 300 nerve cells arrayed in a bowl shape. They convert mechanical vibrations into nerve impulses which are then relayed to the brain of the bees.

So, when the bee receives the sound, it vibrates and the Johnston organ receives the sound.

What sounds do honeybees make?

Honey bees make a buzzing sound. The buzzing sound is made by the rapid movement of their wings.

The consistent contraction of their wing flight muscles, while they are flying, is what causes the high pitched buzzing sound.

A scientist named Sladen stated that the buzzing sound is caused by air passing over the edge of a membrane in the tiny holes located at the side of the bee’s body.

These holes are called ‘spiracles’.

The buzzing sound is mainly heard when bees are flying, during the time when their wings are vibrating very really fast.

Also read this article I wrote on do bees lay eggs

Do bees like music?

Well, we cannot categorically say that bees like music, but according to research by the Public Library of Science, honey bees have evolved a form of communication that may sound like music.

This form of communication is known as the “waggle” dance.

This is done by a worker bee sharing information related to food sources – sources of nectar or pollen, to other bees.

All the sounds produced by this waggle dance are synchronized to a uniform frequency over a given period, and this is regardless of whether they are produced by a single bee or by the entire colony.

So, the deduction is, if bees themselves can produce music, then it must mean that they do like music. Don’t you think so?

How do bees hear?

Bees can make use of their antennae ears to detect sounds. The antennae are a part of the bee’s body that is essential.

They can be used by the bees for various functions.

Bees make use of a particular part of the antennae for hearing.

In honey bees, there are a collection of sensory cells, called Johnson’s organ that can be found on the antennae.

The Johnson’s organ is sensitive to vibration. Now, let’s not forget that sound waves are basically vibrations.

This collection of sensory cells that aid bees hearing can be found in the second segment of each antenna. This segment is called the pedicel.

Honey bees also detect sounds using their feet by certain sensual organs that can pick up vibrations, called subgenual organs.

How do bees process and use sound information?

Just like any living thing, communication is quite important to honey bees, and for communication to happen, sounds are needed.

Honey bees make use of a range of piping and buzzing sound in the nest. These sounds are picked up by other bees and are used to communicate with one another.

The sound can affect the behavior of the colony.

Does the buzzing sound bees have anything to do with what they hear?

Some think that the buzzing sound that bees make has something to do with their response to sound they hear.

Others have even thought that the buzzing sound is made from the bees mouth.

That is to say that, they assume the sound comes from the same place as humans when busy.

Actually, bees buzz due to the rapid movement of their wings.

The speed at which their wings contract is the cause of the high pitch sound of buzzing.

The sound of their buzzing is heard more loudly when they are in flight.

So, there is obviously, no relationship between the hearing ability of bees and the buzzing sound that they make.

Conclusion

Bees do not have ears, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot hear. Honey bees have the ability to detect sounds using their antennae.

There are no types of bees that are known to have ears; the bumble bee and the drone bee do not have ears either.

However, bees are insects one of the that have the best hearing ability.

Written by Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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