# [ExI] Honey bees can do math

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sun Feb 10 17:28:04 UTC 2019

```This one is for you, Spike, since you like both bees and math. Now
they are together for the first time, like peanut butter and
chocolate. ;-)

As if bees weren't amazing enough already, it turns out that they can
do math with their tiny little brains and even understand the concept
of zero.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2019/feb/bees-brains-maths

"When a bee flew into the entrance of the maze they would see a set of
elements, between 1 to 5 shapes. The shapes were either blue, which
subtract.

After viewing the initial number, the bee would fly through a hole
into a decision chamber where it could choose to fly to the left or
right side of the maze.
One side had an incorrect solution to the problem and the other side
had the correct solution of either plus or minus one. The correct
answer was changed randomly throughout the experiment to avoid bees
learning to visit just one side of the maze.
At the beginning of the experiment, bees made random choices until
they could work out how to solve the problem. Eventually, over 100
learning trials that took 4 to 7 hours, bees learned that blue meant
+1, while yellow meant -1. The bees could then apply the rules to new
numbers."

Here are the links describing how researchers learned that bees
understand the number zero.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2018/jun/honeybees-zero-in-on-nothing
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6393/1124

Stuart LaForge

```