Amazing Bees and Facial Recognition
A few weeks ago, I was talking with members of the Bee Team. It was a fascinating discussion, and they mentioned bees recognize their beekeepers, and you can “pet” bees. This started me thinking about the fantastic bees on the planet. Do bees have facial recognition capability? Can they be tickled? What else can bees do? This started a little internet research.
Can bees recognize their beekeepers? This seemed unlikely; their brains are the size of poppy seeds. They have less than a million neurons. Human brains have 85 billion neurons. Even the best computer recognition software can be challenged. Several studies have shown that bees can recognize shapes and human features! Or perhaps better put, they identify possible sources of food. This keen perception helps these highly social creatures recognize each other but also helps them recognize and return to flowers that produce more pollen.
Is it safe to pet a bee? This is something for people who are well-versed in bees. There are plenty of stories of bees being petted. However, the average person should not attempt to pet a bee. The bees might not sting, but they are fragile creatures, and rough handling from a human could inadvertently damage the wings.
Another interesting discovery. Some bees age backward. They get younger. If there is a lack of young worker bees, the older bees will revert to their more energetic and younger self to take up the slack. And they live longer.
As part of the research, I discovered two other interesting points—Bee-football (soccer). With the buff-tailed honey bee, scientists have trained them to score a goal in ‘bee football’ in return for a sugary treat. Quite unbee-lievable! My favorite is bees dancing. They dance to communicate what scout bees found and where it is: ’round dances’ and ‘waggle dances.’ The ’round dance’ signals to their nest-mates that a lucrative pollen area is nearby. The ‘waggle dance’ tells them exactly where it is, how far to go, and in what direction the nest mates need to fly.
To help the bees, please plant flowers.
The videos below show improvement of the hives and fewer Yellow Jackets.