The "waggle dance" of honeybees is one of nature's great wonders: a sophisticated communication system that conveys distances and directions from the hive to sources of nectar. Now a British scientist is hoping to read the dance in order to reverse the honeybee's critical decline. Francis Ratnieks, the UK's only professor of apiculture, is undertaking pioneering research using observation hives and video cameras to determine the plants and flowers that honeybees visit. In the process he hopes to learn how the countryside and urban areas can be made more bee-friendly. The number of beehives in the UK has declined by nearly 75% in the past century, from about a million to 280,000. The University of Sussex academic believes that one major cause is changes in land use, which have reduced the numbers of flowers. "The use of herbicides and intensive forms of agriculture means that fields of wheat and barley...
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