Bee Amazed!

We know that bees are amazing creatures. They can build hives of architectural and structural complexity which astound us. They live in perfectly organised, efficient and hard-working communities. They can communicate with each other – a bee which finds a good source of pollen is able to tell fellow members of the swarm its direction and distance from the hive. They can navigate by the angle of the sun, even if the sun happens to be behind a cloud or nearby hill. They can identify previosly visited flowers by the pheromomes left there by previous visitors. The more you look and research these wonderful creatures, the more you will be amazed.

Now, go and have a read of The Mind of a Bee and you will quickly realise that we have only begun to scratch the surface of all that bees are capable of and…and this is the truly amazing part…that they continue to learn, are capable of learning new skills, and the range of what bees are capable of doing it truly mind-boggling.

Lars Chittka’s The Mind of a Bee is a collection of many reports of scientific studies on the learning capabilities of bees, detailing the studies of various scientists into the life of bees. The achievements of the bees is nearly, but not quite, surpassed by the imagination of the scientists in the various tests and trials they set up for them. With no disrespect to the scientists, and I’m sure they realise this themselves, the bees match and surpassed all expectations in every experiment set up to test them. They can relate the added benefit of visiting flowers of a particular colour, can distinguish symmertical designs which lead to a reward from asymmetrical ones, can learn to perform several tasks in order to receive a reward – and on and on it goes, each page seeming to bring yet another almost unbelievable capability that one could not imagine – only the author and othe scientists, it seems, have come to realise just how extraordinary our bees truly are.

[The Mind of a Bee, Lars Chittka, Princeton University Press, Oxford, 2022, Hardback, 260 pages, £25, ISBN: 978-0-691-18047-2]

2 thoughts on “Bee Amazed!

  1. I’ve just read the Introduction and Chapter 1 via the ‘Look Inside’ facility for the Kindle version on Amazon. It’s fascinating the amount of information they have to learn and retain for just 3 weeks or so of life. And just proves how good females are at multitasking! I will grow even more bee friendly plants in my garden now.

    Liked by 1 person

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