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Bee Smart | Photo Essay

Bees may have tiny brains, but they are surprisingly intelligent. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have conducted an experiment showing that bees can learn from their environment to gain a reward, and then teach other bees to do the same. But that’s not all they can do.

“These are high, high, highly intelligent creatures. They use their neurons in their brain as efficiently as any other animal on the globe,” said conservation biologist Reese Halter.

Other research supports the notion of advanced bee intelligence. A 2014 study in the journal Animal Cognition found that bees could learn increasingly tricky tasks to access sugar. For example, the bees can learn to slide or lift caps, then subsequently push balls of escalating weight to access the reward. When the researchers put the bees who knew how to solve the puzzle in a hive with naïve bees, they somehow went on to communicate the solution to their unlearned kinfolk.


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