Explained: Inside the minds of bees, and what we can learn from their intelligence

Source: The post is based on the article Explained: Inside the minds of bees, and what we can learn from their intelligencepublished in Indian Express on 25th July 2022.

What is the News?

According to the book “The Mind of the Bee”, bees possess not only a remarkable level of cognitive intelligence but also a high degree of “consciousness”, which makes them think and feel like beings.

What is Consciousness?

Consciousness has been understood as a concept different from ordinary brain intelligence (which commonly is known to include the cognitive ability of thinking and reasoning). 

Consciousness includes the ability to be “sentient” and experience feelings and emotions. It is thought to encapsulate a sophistical level of self-awareness and imagination — feelings and emotions that allow us to perceive ourselves while simultaneously interacting with the world around us.

The nature of animal consciousness is far more difficult to assess as humans are fundamentally unable to understand the minds of animals and live the world through their eyes. However, it is now accepted that animals too possess some form of consciousness. 

Previous Studies on Cognitive ability of Honey Bees

According to previous studies, 

– Honey bees use a kind of “waggle dance” for communicating with each other.

– Bees could learn to solve complex puzzles to access their reward – sugar. They could also teach other bees to perform the same task, but while incorporating important improvements in the task.

– Bees have also been found to be able to form democracies where a subset can communicate their decisions to a group of over 10,000.

What does this book say about Honey Bees?

According to the book, Honey Bees have a mind of their own and have distinct personalities. They are even able to distinctly identify the faces of humans.

For instance, bees likely felt emotions like fear and anxiety and consequently changed their demeanour when exposed to past locations of trauma and danger – such as a flower on which they were once attacked by a spider.

Print Friendly and PDF