[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.


"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  
meant the bee had to add, or yellow, which meant the bee had to  

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  

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


Stuart LaForge

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