Dancing in the dark

A LONG-STANDING mystery about how bees -- considered completely deaf -- hear has been solved. Bees are known to convey information about the distance, direction and potential of a new food source or nesting site through a complicated dance language involving the wagging of the abdomen and vibrating the wings while traversing a figure 8. But because this performance takes place in the relative darkness of the hive where the bees can't see, scientists had wondered how the message is communicated.