Bees are marvelous creatures. They pollinate our crops, helping to maintain our food supply; they provide us with honey, possibly the world’s perfect food. And now, thanks to researchers in the UK, we’re learning that bees are even smarter – and cuter – than we thought.
Yes, bees are cute – or, at least, they make a cute sound when they’re startled. This quick vibrational pulse was previously thought to be a “stop” signal, or a request for food. But when researchers at Nottingham Trent University recorded vibrations inside hives for a full year, they found that this signal happened far too frequently for either of those explanations to be true. The team concluded that this “whooping” signal occurred when bees were startled, whether by bumping into each other, or by the headbutts that accompany requests for food or interruption of waggle dances. To hear the “whoop” signal for yourself, head over to New Scientist for their synopsis of the research and recordings of startled, but adorable, bees.
There’s also been a revelation about bees’ intelligence, courtesy of scientists at Queen Mary University of London. While bees’ capacity for complex communication and organization has been established for some time, now scientists have found that bees can even use tools and teach other bees to use them as well. In this experiment, bees were taught to move a ball into position to access a sugary treat. Not only did they learn, they taught other bees, and even adapted their new skills when put in new situations. You can watch the tool-using bees and learn more about their intelligence here at PBS.
At Hummer and Son, we take great pride in our bees. We always knew they were adorable and intelligent, and we’re glad science is backing that up. Our bees allow us to offer you premium Louisiana honey and other bee products. Contact us for more information!