Dan Nosowitz from AtlasObscura asks about the smartest bugs in the world? What is ‘Smartest’, after all? Of course after a while, the subject of bees comes up.
Bees are capable of observation, learning, and memory to solve problems. “Every bee is entirely flower-naive at the beginning of its foraging career,” says Chittka, meaning that the bee has no instinctive knowledge about how to score nectar or pollen from flowers. That’s trouble, because flowers are wildly divergent: different flowers will need entirely different strategies to exploit, and it’s up to each individual bee to figure out how to attack each different flower.
Bees can learn new strategies for getting food from other bees, something few other insects are capable of doing. Chittka told me about a technique called “nectar robbing,” in which bees figure out that it can be easier to bite a hole in a flower’s spur to suck out the nectar rather than figuring out how to get inside the flower. Other bees have proven able to observe this strategy, understand its purpose, master it themselves, and remember it for future flowers. That’s pretty smart!
Read the full article here: I Asked Leading Entomologists: ‘What’s The Smartest Bug In The World?’