Honeybees Are Actually Mathematicians

Samuel Reason | February 9th, 2019

Honeybees are one of the small numbers of animals that can count and have an understanding of what zero means. They understand the concept of nothing, much like humans or dolphins can. In fact, these little insects are able to grasp that “nothing” is the opposite of “something” and they also know that the number zero is on the low end of the numerical sphere.

amp.businessinsider.com

A study published in the journal Science researched that honey bees could count up to four objects and understood the notion of zero. Not exactly mathematicians but way more advanced than most animals. It is actually the first research of its kind that shows insects can deal with abstracts concepts. To understand if bumblebees and honeybees could understand the concept of nothingness, scientist lured free-flying bees to a screen that had white cards on them.

Each card featured two to five different types of dark shapes. The researchers awarded some honey bees with sweet nectar for flying onto a card with a few items and some with a card that featured many items. After a couple of days of training, the researchers also introduced cards that had no items on them at all.

And the bees were able to consistently recognize the cards that had no shapes or objects on them at all. In fact, they were able to make them out even better when the blank cards were shown alongside cards with four or five items.

This means that the honeybees knew and understood which cards had fewer items on and which ones had more on. And understanding that this sort of numerical scale is very important to understand the concept of zero. One thing that remains unclear to the scientists is if they understand this from birth or if they learn it through training with other bees. It is definitely something that can give them an advantage when navigating the wild & recognizing different types of flowers.

Next Article
  • Pig Farmers Say Marijuana Pig Feed Is Better

    Some farmers have a very interesting take on the progression of growing cannabis and the growing legalization of marijuana around the United States. Many believe it is the perfect crop to be commercialized and used in their animal feed - too keep them happy and relaxed! And well if you...

    Read More
  • Telegraph Invented Due To Heartbreak

    The inventor of the telegraph Samuel Morse had quite a tough life that was filled with numerous disappointments and this may really have been one of the reasons he ended up inventing the telegraph. Samuel Morse was born 225 years ago and is known around the world for having invented...

    Read More
  • Colorful Honey Created Naturally By Candy Eating Bees

    A couple of beekeepers in northeastern France were left scratching their heads in confusion when their bees started to produce thick blue and green honey completely naturally. The bees from their hives were found producing honey in odd shades of blue and green - something that was completely unheard of and never seen before. [caption...

    Read More
  • The Sheepdogs That Protect The Little Penguins

    On an Australian Island, there was a strong and vibrant colony of little penguins - that was until the foxes came and nearly ate them all up. Luckily for the little penguins they had a farmer on their side who decided to come up with an amazing way to protect them, in fact, it is...

    Read More
  • The Grueling Gaokao Exam Is The Toughest In The World

    China’s college entrance exam known as the Gaokao is thought to be one of the toughest examinations in the whole world. If you want a spot in one of the 2,200 Chinese universities then you need to ace your Gaokao exam. And it goes much deeper than that, sure the exam decides the university ranking...

    Read More
  • Tiny Sweat Bees Will Try To Feed Off Your Tears

    Recently doctors treating a Taiwanese woman for a swollen eye were shocked to find that she had over four little bees living in her, under her eyelid and feeding off her tears. These tiny little bees are known as sweat bees and are only around 3 millimeters long, so are small enough to fit under...

    Read More
  • Incredible Power Of The Mantis Shrimp

    Mantis shrimp have quickly become a creature championed on the internet due to the revelation of its optical superpowers. The mantis shrimp is able to see over 100,000 colors and also is able to see what is known as circularly polarized light - a capability that no other creature can do. ...

    Read More
  • The Time When Heineken Bottles Were Building Blocks

    Alfred Heineken after visited the Caribbeans in 1963 and finding the beaches littered with Heineken bottles, decided to amend his design and make the bottle's square. His aim was to allow the bottle to function as a brick also & let people use them to build homes in impoverished countries. ...

    Read More