Home > Lifestyle > EnviroHealth > News 05 April 2013 Bees use logic to find the best flowers Scientists have discovered why bees copy each other when looking for nectar. 0 iStock Related Govts undecided on pesticide ban to protect bees World agriculture suffers from loss of wild bees How to survive a bee swarm Start A Health24 blog » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Test Are you envirohealth savvy? » Ask EnviroHealth Expert » Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet movie trailer The amazing mountains on Pluto Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), have discovered why bees copy each other when looking for nectar – and the answer is remarkably simple.Despite their tiny brains, bees are smart enough to pick out the most attractive flowers by watching other bees and learning from their behaviour. By using simple logic, they see which coloured flowers are the most popular, and conclude that those of the same colour must also contain lots of energy-rich nectar."Learning where to find nectar by watching others seems fantastically complex for a tiny bee, but it's something that almost any animal could do, in the right circumstances," says Dr Elli Leadbeater from ZSL's Institute for Zoology and co-author of the study published this week in Current Biology. Bees copy flower colour choicesMost worker bees visit thousands of flowers every day in their search for nectar to feed their queen's brood. Copying flower colour choices may be a shortcut to success, bypassing the exhausting process of exploring each flower to see if it contains hidden rewards. Tests were carried out in wooden laboratory "flight arenas" stocked with artificial flowers. Bees were trained to know that sugar could be found on flowers where other foragers were present. The bees then watched through a screen as their companions chose a particular flower colour, and ignored another.When later allowed to choose a flower colour alone, the test bees copied their companions' choices. "Naive foragers", who had never learnt to equate other bees with nectar, did not copy other bees' behaviour.Erika Dawson, a PhD student at Queen Mary, University of London adds: "Our study shows how bees use past associations to make decisions about when to copy others, but almost all other animals, including humans, are also capable of forming associations. For example, we might associate Easter with chocolate or injections with fear. This suggests that other species, not just bees, may also use this logical process when learning from others,"Bees use human logic"We suggest that bees are using similar logic to a person, who might get a headache, and the next day, feel very ill. A week later, the headache is back, accompanied by a nasty rash. Even though they do not feel ill this time, when the rash appears again the following week, they start to dread feeling ill again, and think about taking the next day off work." The scientists also found that bees consider whether their companions are making good choices. In laboratory "flight arenas", test bees did not copy other bees if they knew that those bees were visiting bitter-tasting flowers. Instead, the test bees actively avoided the flower colours that other bees chose. The flowers were made bitter using quinine - a flavour used in tonic water, which bees typically dislike. EurekAlert NEXT ON HEALTH24X Call for potential donors as Cape blood stocks run low 2017-06-20 14:59 More: EnviroHealthNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news News You know a lot if you can get more than 80% for this health quiz Medical Got arthritis? Your job might be the problem... News SEE: We can't stop laughing at people trying to pronounce difficult medical words Diet and nutrition Can you be fat and fit? Medical Sing like Justin Bieber or even a bullfrog to relieve Parkinson’s News A woman born without a vagina hopes to receive life-changing surgery From our sponsors Johannesburg conference to tackle digital transformation in healthcare WIN a R2000 voucher. Great skin is just a click away! How erectile dysfunction can affect relationships Coital incontinence: the ‘oops’ women are too afraid to talk about Live healthier Myths busted! » Breastfeeding may reduce pain from C-section Breastfeeding and work - how to make it work 9 breastfeeding myths busted Breastfeeding will help me lose my baby weight, right? Wrong! We bust nine myths about breastfeeding. Eat right. » How watching porn can cause erectile dysfunction 7 scientific ways to cure erectile dysfunction 7 foods that could relieve erectile dysfunction If you experience erectile dysfunction from time to time, you may be able to manage the problem without any medical help.