Bees Can Search And Remember Flowers Just Like Humans: Know How!Reading Time: 3 minutes, 36 seconds Post Views: 1186 December 21, 2021
All of us have seen honey bees flying around us and settling on nearby flowers. This is because they travel a long distance searching for flower sources to gather the nectar to feed other bees and produce honey. But did you ever thought, that when the bees leave the hive for the first time in their life, how did they know what a flower looks like or what they are looking for? To understand this more and discover whether bees have an innate ability to find & remember flowers, a paper was published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Pollinators like bees and plants both need each other to survive and prosper. For example, many plants require pollinators to take pollen particles between blossoms to reproduce. Meanwhile, pollinators depend on plants for nourishment (like pollen and nectar) and nesting resources (such as leaves and resin).
In this way, flowering plants and pollinators have been in association for an extended period. This relationship regularly brings about flowers having advanced specific signals, for example, colours, shapes and patterns that are more alluring to honey bees.
Simultaneously, honey bees' dependence on bloom assets, for example, nectar and pollen, has driven them to be compelling learners of blossom signals. They should have the option to tell which blossoms in their current circumstance will provide a reward and which will not. Assuming they didn't know about the distinction, they would sit around idly looking for nectar in some unacceptable blossoms.
These discoveries show honey bees can rapidly and adequately figure out how to segregate between flowers of marginally various shapes – somewhat like how people can expertly distinguish faces.
Small but Amazing Brain of Honey Bees –
Honey bees have tiny brains weighing less than a milligram and containing just 960,000 neurons (compared to 86 billion in human brains). Though having an exceptionally less number of neurons, honey bees demonstrate excellent learning skills. Maze navigation, counting, quantity discrimination, size discrimination, etc., are some of the cognitively challenging tasks that honey bees can efficiently perform.
To find out how honey bees can find flowers on their first foraging trip outside the hive, a test was conducted. Two groups of bees were studied to discriminate between sets of flower images. One group was brought up in a hive inside a nursery without any blossoms, and had hence never been presented to flowers. We put a colour mark on these honey bees at birth, so we could follow them once they get outside from the hive to forage two weeks later.
The second group was made of experienced forager bees who have visited several flowers in their lives. Both the groups of bees were trained using sugar water rewards to choose the correct option when directed. They were taught to discriminate between images of two flowers found in nature and between the same flowers with the petals separated and randomly scrambled.
How well and how rapidly the honey bees figured out to separate between the pictures of whole blossoms versus how long they required segregating between the mixed petals would let us know which data they liked to learn.
Both the flower-naïve and experienced foragers figured out how to separate between the pictures of real flowers better and more rapidly than the mixed petals. However, the flower-naïve honeybees appeared to have less bias as they additionally figured out how to separate between the mixed data, while the experienced foragers proved unable.
The outcomes uncover that flower-naïve bees have an innate flower template that helps them learn new blossoms and separate between them. Simultaneously, experienced foragers become biased towards specific flower shapes as they gain foraging experience.
Generally, honey bees use a natural flower layout to track down flowers and draw on their past information as they become more experienced.
According to Mr. Basem Barry, these findings on honey bees are genuinely remarkable, and they do tie into similar capabilities in other species existing in the world. Humans, too, have evolved brains that can detect, recognize and discriminate between the faces of other human beings. Even human infants are capable of recognizing other people's faces very well. Therefore, this study is very beneficial in knowing more about these lovely pollinators and their unique capabilities.