How bees make decisions?

Bees spend most of their time flying from flower to flower collecting nectar that they turn into honey later. As it is known, these insects are small and despite being equipped with forms of defense, they are exposed to predation. So, how are they able to decide which flower is the right choice and which to avoid, since these choices can expose them to external threats?

For this purpose, an artificial flower field was installed. The back of each bee was marked with a different color in order to identify the path made by the insects. In addition, each flower had different amounts of sugar syrup on the petals, different color and different elements that signaled the presence or absence of the water and sugar rewarding. The study of these paths has evidenced how the bees were able, in the short time, to identify the flowers that were the richest in term of nourishment. 

But what surprised scientists the most was to learn that the right decisions made by insects were those for which it took the least time. Conversely, those taken in more time turned out to be incorrect. This relationship is usually the opposite in the rest of the animals. The only exceptions are humans, primates and bees. In order to investigate this behavior, an artificial model has been set up able to receive inputs and make decisions. This has been done in order to understand what the elements might be necessary to reverse the normal process.

This has led to the conclusion that bees move on to flowers that provide them the certainty that they are targets rich in nutrition. In this way bees are sure to reach the goal despite this method may lead them to avoid flowers that would offer them sources, even smaller, of pollen.

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