Bees are brainy, can also do simple maths
Bees are able to grasp basic maths, according to a new study, which suggests a small brain may not mean low intelligence.
After training a group of the pollinating insects, scientists at French National Centre for Scientific Research found they were able to perform addition and subtraction.
In recent years, experiments have shown that the skill of mathematics is found across the animal kingdom.
In the new study, a team led by Dr Scarlett Howard first taught their bees to recognise colours as symbols for either addition or subtraction. Specifically, blue meant “more” and yellow meant “less”. Next, their bees were trained to enter Yshaped mazes in which they had to make a choice between two sets of shapes.
At the entrance to the maze, the bees were met with between one and five shapes, coloured either blue or yellow. Next they flew into a chamber where they could fly towards either the original number of shapes, plus or minus one, or the incorrect number of shapes. If they first encountered blue they had to add, and if yellow they had to subtract. Across some 100 such trials, the researchers trained 14 bees to choose the correct option around 75% of the time, the scientists wrote in the findings that were published in the journal ‘Science Advances’.