Bumblebees enjoy playing with balls

New research shows that bees may be more intelligent than we previously thought and that they like to play! Watch this video to find out more.


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Now scientists in the UK have discovered that bumblebees enjoy playing with balls, just as humans and dogs do. Researchers at Queen Mary University in London say the research, which was published in the journal Animal Behaviour, provides a strong indication that insect minds are far more sophisticated than we might have imagined. Aruna Iyengar has this report.

It's an extraordinary sight: a bee plays with a ball. It's more than just cute. Researchers say this shows, for the first time, insects interacting with inanimate objects as a form of play. And that suggests their minds are more complex than we previously thought. 

Bees are known to work cooperatively in hives. They give us honey and wax, and our ecosystem relies on them through pollination. But despite their tiny size and brains, they're far from being just nature's workhorses. A team at Queen Mary University of London designed a series of experiments where bees rolled wooden balls. They found the bees showed their playful side without any extra inducement like a sugary treat. They went back to the toys again and again. Younger bees played more than older ones, and adult males rolled for longer than females of a similar age. 

Aruna Iyengar, BeeBC News



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