The Amazing Problem Solving Capabilities of Bees

In a lively episode of his True Facts series, narrator Ze Frank marvels at the amazing problem solving capabilities of bees as demonstrated by a number of experiments that rely on positive reinforcement. And whatever knowledge they have, they are happy to share.

Here’s a bee trained to do a two step puzzle where you only get the reward at the end. And again, another bee can learn just by watching. Looks like a bit of an annoying student, gets right up in there. Now he’s gone for a vape. All right, I’m back. Blue thing, red thing. Got it.

Not only can bees be trained to move objects to get to a sugary treat, but it appears that they can also discern distance and direction along with solving simple math problems.

Here’s one they taught to tell the difference between 11 and 12. You can give them two scenarios and train them to pick the larger one or the smaller one in this scenario. Look at it. Go back and forth, just to be sure. Perfectionist bee. And if you train it on picking the larger number, it won’t just pick the one with more shapes. It’ll also pick one with the same number of shapes.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.