Bees also need sleep

The life of a gathering bee is probably the most exhausting of all from the bee state. A single bee visits about 100 flowers per group flight. With ten group flights per day, this is already 1,000 flowers, but there can also be significantly more. So the day of a bee is very busy and after such a working day a bee just has to relax. However, bees only need one third of a person's sleep. Like humans, bees react unconcentrated to sleep deprivation. This has a particular impact on their communication with others.

The young bees go through several phases of sleep. You need the most sleep. And for good reason: they have to do a lot in the hive – they clean the cells, build new honeycombs out of wax and remove nectar and pollen from the collective bees. Their sleep is very restless and they hardly come to rest. They sleep several times during the day and at night. Since there is always a lot of activity in the hive, they retreat to the empty cells in the brood area for the sleep phases. 
When the young bees become hard-working collective bees, their sleep phases shift – they now sleep much less, which is also related to their older age. Your sleep behavior now depends on the day-night cycle. The sleeping place of the collective bees is from then on outside the cells and close to the edge of the honeycombs. The collective bees have a deeper and calmer sleep and their bodies cool down significantly, in contrast to their young bees.

Furthermore, the researchers have discovered a previously unknown sleeping posture of the bees. The bees press their head and abdomen between two honeycombs and let their feelers and legs dangle relaxed. In this position, they can remain motionless for up to 30 minutes. Otherwise, sleeping bees can be recognized by sitting on one spot, letting their antennae hang down and buckling their legs.

However, many questions about the sleeping behaviour of bees remain unresolved. For example, it has not yet been researched where and how the drones sleep. Furthermore, as in humans, there is no knowledge of the biological function of sleep. It is still unclear whether the organism regenerates during sleep, whether energy is saved during sleep or whether the brain separates itself from meaningless information during sleep.


Leave a Reply