Bees Have the Ability to Learn Tricks for Rewards and It's Awesome

Posted by Allie Layos

A new study shows that bumblebees are far more intelligent than you probably thought.

When discussing intelligent creatures, most people speak of primates, marine mammals like dolphins, or creatures they interact with on a daily basis, like dogs. Few would mention bumblebees, but all of that many change soon, as a recent study shows that bumblebees have a very impressive ability: they can manipulate objects with a specific goal in mind, proving that they are far more intelligent than most people believe.

In early 2017, researchers Olli J. Loukola, Clint J. Perry, Louie Coscos, and Lars Chittka published a scientific paper, 'Bumblebees show cognitive flexibility by improving on an observed complex behavior.'

At the beginning of the experiment, the researchers (with a little help from a fake bee) showed the bees how to move the ball and receive a sugary reward. They found that once the bees were able to complete the task on their own, they were able to show other bees how to do so. And, perhaps most impressively, they were able to improve on the original task.

The paper states:

"...instead of copying demonstrators moving balls over long distances, observers solved the task more efficiently, using the ball positioned closest to the target, even if it was of a different color than the one previously observed."

That'a a pretty impressive cognitive ability for a creature so small. Since populations have sadly been in decline over the past decade, this newfound intelligence is just one more reason to fight against the loss of bumblebees.

Are you surprised that bumblebees have this ability? Tell us below!

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Bees Have the Ability to Learn Tricks for Rewards and It's Awesome