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Scientists prove the intelligence of bees

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Scientists prove the intelligence of bees

Bees, insects that help in the process of plant reproduction and are useful to humans, are clever and unique creatures. A scientist in England proved this through a series of studies.

Insects revered by the ancient Egyptians, praised by Shakespeare, and also mentioned in Al-Qur’an, really very smart. “We now have suggestive evidence that there is some level of awareness in bees – that there are feelings, that they have an emotion-like state,” said Lars Chittka, professor of sensory and behavioral ecology at Queen Mary University of London. The GuardianMonday (18/7).

Chittka has studied bees for 30 years and is considered one of the world’s leading experts in bee sensory systems and cognition.

In his latest book, The Mind of a Beepublished on July 19, he argues that bees need human protection, not only because they are useful for plant pollination and biodiversity, but because they may be living beings just as humans have ethical obligations in this world.

“Our work and that of other laboratories has shown that bees are highly intelligent individuals. That they can count, recognize images of human faces, and learn the use of simple tools and abstract concepts,” explains Chittka.

According to Chittka, bees have emotions, can plan and imagine things, and can recognize themselves as unique entities that are different from other bees. He drew this conclusion from experiments in his laboratory with female worker bees. “Every time a bee gets something right, it gets a sugar reward. That’s how we train them, for example, to recognize human faces.”

In this experiment, bees were shown several monochrome images of human faces. If they can guess it will be given sugar.” Then, we gave them a choice of different faces and no prizes, and asked: which one do you choose now? And indeed, they were able to find the right one from a variety of different faces,” said Chittka in amazement.

“They only need a few training sessions to become proficient facial recognition,” he added.

Besides being smart in recognizing faces, bees are also smart in counting. In a counting experiment, bees are trained to fly through three identical places to a food source. Once they fly there, scientists increase the number of landmarks by the same distance or decrease it. When the landmarks were placed closer to each other, the bees tended to land earlier than before and vice versa when the landmarks were placed further away. “So they use a number of landmarks to say: ah ha, I’ve flown quite a distance, this is a good place to land.”

Since the markers were identical, he could be sure the bees weren’t identifying a particular one when deciding how far to fly. “They can actually come up with a solution just by counting the number of landmarks,” Chittka said.

According to him, bees are also able to imagine how something might look or feel: for example, they can visually identify a sphere that they previously only felt in the dark – and vice versa. And they can understand abstract concepts like “same” or “different”.

Chittka also mentions bees as good learning creatures. “Once you train one individual in the colony, the skill spreads quickly to all the bees.” (M-4)


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