How honeybees find a place

Lessons from a simple mind

Ken Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)


Foraging honeybees find their way from their hive to their food in a stereotypical manner using up to four place-finding servomechanisms in sequence: (1) They first fly a vector (straight-line distance and direction) from their home to the vicinity of the target. Direction is determined by the sun compass and by distant landmarks, while distance is estimated by visual flow. (2) They then beacon in on a landmark near the target location. (3) En route toward the landmark, they may adopt a sensorimotor trajectory that takes them toward the target. (4) Near the expected target location, they attempt image matching, which involves trying to put surrounding landmarks at the correct positions on their eyes. In doing image matching, they fly facing a stereotypical direction, a strategy that makes it unnecessary to translate retinal coordinates into another coordinate system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAnimal Learning and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000

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