Scientists at the Queen Mary University of London have certainly been keeping London bees busy over the past months few months. Our article on London Bees with Personalised License Plates back in July was followed in the autumn by Intelligent Bees Learn To Pull Strings To Get Food.
All the information collected has given scientists a valuable insight into how intelligent the humble bumblebee is.
Bees in Training
Despite bees having brains just the size of sesame seeds, the team at Queen Mary University of London has proved that bees can be trained to follow a process. Not only this, they can then go onto train their fellow hive buddies to learn the same trick.
The scientists used two methods to train the bees how to get a small yellow ball from the side of a platform into a hole in the centre, with the reward of a sugary little treat when they scored a goal!
Firstly, the ball was moved with the use of a hidden magnet, encouraging the bees to follow it. Astoundingly, the bees then learnt how to move the ball independently. Novice bees were then introduced to these ‘trained’ goalies, and the new skill was passed on through cultural spread; the transfer of knowledge from one member of a colony to another. This method proved even more successful than the first, showing that bees learn better from each other than inanimate objects. Enjoying the sugary treat released from the little trapdoor that opened in the ball once a goal was scored, the bees performed time after time.
Previous Theories Proved to Bee Wrong!
Professor Lars Chittka, project leader of the Queen Mary University of London research team, spoke proudly about how this revelation, along with the studies of last year, proved previous theories to be wrong:
“Our study puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that small brains constrain insects to have limited behavioural flexibility and only simple learning abilities.”
The skills proven in this study have only ever been seen in humans and marine life before.
Bee Friendly at Top Dog Pest Control
We’re known for being a friendly bunch here at Top Dog Pest Control! Not only this, we are also ‘bee friendly’…
Top Dog Pest Control very much recognises the importance of bees to our ecosystem and fully supports moves to increase their dwindling numbers in the UK.
Bees are not aggressive creatures like wasps and hornets, and will only attack if under real threat due to the fact they die. Therefore, Top Dog Pest Control will always discuss the option of leaving a bee nest in place with a customer. However, if for any reason this is not possible, our trained and knowledgeable technicians will work to relocate the nest, bringing in bee experts where necessary in order to protect the bees.
Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London bee control services.