On warm days in early summer, while others are relaxing, honeybees are hard at work. This species (Apis mellifera) is especially adapted for its primary activity of collecting pollen and participates in a ritual that is perhaps the most famous and fascinating of all the forms of animal communication.
A honeybee's body is divided into three segments, each one equipped with a pair of highly specialized legs. In conjunction, they make the perfect tools for collecting pollen, which provides essential proteins for honeybee larvae. Moreover, most honeybee species have relatively long, tube-shaped tongues (commonly termed a proboscis) that can probe deep into the recesses of flower blooms to lap up nectar. Many flowers, which benefit from the industry of honeybees, aid them in their task. The pollen grains of flowers most attractive to honeybees are very sticky so the pollen will secure easily to their bodies. Also, many flowers provide a landing lip for the bees to rest upon before they delve into the interior.
Most remarkable, however, is the cooperation inherent in the species itself. After detecting a source of nectar, a honeybee will return to the hive and perform an intricate ritual. The waggle dance communicates essential information about the location of the food source. In turn, members of the hive echo the scout bee's directions by imitating the dance steps and wing sounds. The group then works together to obtain the most pollen from their precious find.