Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Bumblebee's Tongue

This is a queen bumblebee that was in my back yard.  I had some sugar water made up for honey bees and I offered her some.

Watch as her long tongue comes out to lick it up.  And if you watch carefully you'll see a little inner tongue that comes out of the big tongue and sweeps up the nectar.

Now you can see exactly what a bumblebee does when she puts her tongue into a flower.

Not even honey bees can reach as far into a flower as a bumblebee can.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bumblebees Play Soccer

In the last post we saw how researchers taught bumblebees how to pull string to reach a flower for food.  That was pretty cool.

This is pretty amazing.  They've taught bees how to play soccer.  First a fake bee was used to teach a bee how to move a ball into a circle to get a reward of sugar water.  After the bee figured out how to get the reward she could do it all on her own.

Then she taught other bees how to do it.  Watch this video to see for yourself:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Have you ever heard the saying monkey see, monkey do?  Or the saying copy cat?  These are examples taken from animals where one monkey watches another and then learns something and does it.  Cats learn by watching other cats.  This is where the saying copy cat comes from.  If you watch kittens you will see they copy what their mother does.

Below are videos where researchers at a university in England did an experiment with Bumblebees.

First they taught one bee in a step by step way how to get sugar water out of a fake flower.  The next thing they did was put the taught bee with an untaught bee.  Can you guess what happened?  The bee that knew how to pull get the sugar water taught the other bee to do it too.  This is called social learning. Watch this video on how the bees were taught:

We already knew animals were smart and could teach each other but now we know that insects can too.  I guess we can't ever call an insect dumb.