As Patty and I walked to the Nature Center on this bright crisp fall morning, we noticed a collection of bees hanging on one of the fall blooming bushes, and they were absolutely still. Are they dead? What’s wrong with them? It’s OK, they are just asleep. The temperature got into the mid-40s overnight, and these bees simply grabbed onto a convenient branch to wait until the sun warmed them up again. At 9:30 they were asleep, and when I came by again around 11:00, they were still there. Surely they are dead, I thought. But a gentle poke in the leg made one of the stir and grumble, “Will you go away lady! It’s not time to get up yet!” It was a great opportunity for a really close up photo of his eyes though.!
Do bees sleep? Ask this question of Google and be amazed at the answers you find. Over all, the replies are YES! Bees do sleep! Research done as recently as 1988 showed that bees at rest exhibit some of the same characteristics as humans in a sleep period: they don’t move around, they don’t react to stimuli very readily, their muscles relax, and their body temperature drops. So, while the buzzing in the hive is probably not snoring, research concludes that bees do sleep. (http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=28485.0) Of course, the research had no conclusions on bee dreams, but there was a study showing that sleep deprived bees don’t do the waggle dance right to show their hive mates where the nectar is.