Thursday, March 10, 2011

Those wonderful bumble bees

 I ran across this article on the internet, and thought I would share it. Insects never cease to amaze me! Joey and I are getting ready to venture into the world of beekeeping. Joey put our first hive box together last week and we pick up our first bees April 2nd. I will take pics when we get our bees and place them in their new home. This article is about Bumble Bees another one of our awesome pollinators. This proves just how intelligent they really are.


Bees Solve Complex Problems Faster Than Supercomputers

Bees_experiments_flowersIn a new study, researchers report that bumblebees were able to figure out the most efficient routes among several computer-controlled "flowers," quickly solving a complex problem that even stumps supercomputers. We already know bees are pretty good at facial recognition, and researchers have shown they can also be effective air-quality monitors.
Bumblebees can solve the classic "traveling salesman" problem, which keeps supercomputers busy for days. They learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they find the flowers in a different order, according to a new British study.
The traveling salesman problem is a  problem in computer science; it involves finding the shortest possible route between cities, visiting each city only once. Bees are the first animals to figure this out, according to Queen Mary University of London researchers.
Bees need lots of energy to fly, so they seek the most efficient route among networks of hundreds of flowers using angles of sunlight, which helps them find their way home, researchers say. To do this, their tiny brains must pack a powerful memory.
To test bee problem-solving, researchers Lars Chittka and Mathieu Lihoreau tested bees’ response to computer-controlled artificial flowers. They wanted to see whether the bees would go after the flowers in the order in which they were discovered, or if they would figure out the shortest route among all the flowers even as new ones were added. The bees explored the locations of the flowers and quickly figured out the shortest paths among them, according to a Queen Mary news release.
This is no small feat, especially considering the tiny size of bee brains. When it comes to certain types of intelligence, size apparently does not matter.
Earlier this year, researchers showed that bees recognize individual faces because they can make out the relative patterns that make up a face. The new research further suggests bees are highly sophisticated problem solvers, and that better understanding of their brains could improve our understanding of network problems like traffic flows, supply chains and epidemiology.
The research will be published this week in the journal The American Naturalist.
Casey Kazan via Queen Mary University of London


  1. wow... :D a most sophisticated brain ... happy beekeeping... my neighbour has some hives so have had a lot of visits from their hive and i do love observing them...

  2. I am so excited about becoming a beekeeper. It is something i have wanted to do for several years. I am constantly amazed at how smart some insects can be

  3. When I was 8 my best friends dad was the head of bees for the state so I got to harvest and all that good stuff.I am allergic to their sting, but haven't had a honey bee sting me for a long time.

  4. That sounds like a wonderful experience as a child Steve. To be able to be around the bees and take part in harvesting honey. It is unfortunate that you are allergic to them. I feel very grateful that I am not. It would be very difficult to venture into beekeeping and be allergic to their sting.

  5. I always wondered if bees could recognize a person who means them no harm, I had a swarm make my block fence their happy home, they visited my birdbath for water and sometimes they would fall in the water and I would have to fish them out with a twig. I did it daily, and when I photographed their comings and goings they never paid me any mind. On the other hand they would bump my husband as a warning that he was too close to their hive. I mowed the yard, used the weed whacker, and leaf blower within feet of their hive and they just totally ignored me. Maybe they recognized me!

  6. AZ I think it has a lot to do with smell. Bees use pheromones to communicate with each other and it could be they recognize your smell and know you mean them no harm. Your husband may not smell as good to them, they may be unsure of his presence and see him as a possible threat. My husband gets stung all the time and it frustrates him to death. They seem to seek him out to sting him. I try to assure him that it is nothing personal, but when you are being stung it is hard to think positive. This beekeeping foray we are about to undertake will be interesting to say the least. I think it is awesome that you rescue the little bodies that end up in your birdbath. Fortunately your husband hasn't suffered any stings.