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Research Shows Bees Can Do Simple Math

Research Shows Bees Can Do Simple Math

If the idea that stinging insects might be getting smarter bothers you, maybe stop reading. Researchers in Australia believe honeybees may be able to perform simple addition and subtraction, an extremely rare feat in nature. That's right -- bees can do math.

The scientists' research article was published in Science Magazine this week, and shows honeybees have greater cognitive abilities than previously thought. From the article abstract:

We show that honeybees, with a miniature brain, can learn to use blue and yellow as symbolic representations for addition or subtraction. In a free-flying environment, individual bees used this information to solve unfamiliar problems involving adding or subtracting one element from a group of elements.

If you have ever felt hopeless when getting rid of bees, then this may explain some of the difficulty. Stinging insects are a nuisance throughout the year, especially in the summer, and keeping out hornets, wasps and more is a job best left to professionals. If you have an infestation of yellow jackets or another stinging insect, call us now at 425-482-2100.bees can do math

Bees Can Do Math? Practice Makes Perfect

The research about bees' math skills wasn't as simple as handing them a homework assignment. The scientists had to spend many hours training the bees to respond to color-coded symbols that represented addition and subtraction. After all that time, the bees did math correctly only about 70 percent of the time.

Still, the researchers believe their findings could be important to understanding insect brain function, and possibly to AI research:

This display of numerosity requires bees to acquire long-term rules and use short-term working memory. Given that honeybees and humans are separated by over 400 million years of evolution, our findings suggest that advanced numerical cognition may be more accessible to nonhuman animals than previously suspected.

So if wasps, hornets, yellow jackets or other stinging insects are bothering you, do the math: Eastside Exterminators can help! Call us now at 425-482-2100 for a professional inspection.