Swarm Wisdom

todayNovember 1, 2022 4

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Female worker bees waggle and dance after a pollen hunting trip like cowgirls on a dance floor. 

Are they counting a two-step?

1-2-3 Bee

Scientists and beekeepers know that bees are highly intelligent, but a surprising new study reveals that bees can count to five.  They even understand the concept of zero.

Researchers have confirmed that bees – like humans, primates, and some other vertebrates – order their counting from left to right in what’s called a “mental number line.”  

And just like humans, bees use both hemispheres of the brain.  

Bees Disagree

Bees also seem to consciously make decisions.  One Cornell scientist and beekeeper explains how bees interact by disagreeing with each other:

Brain Buzz

Other research indicates that bees are self-aware.  They have almost one million neurons and can learn new things; they don’t just operate on instinct.  But are bees “conscious?”  

The answer seems to lean towards yes.  Neuroscientists in Germany found that bees have “neural oscillations synchronized across the brain, that, at least in humans, are associated with conscious states.”

The Soul of a Bee

Do bees – or other animals for that matter – have souls?  Belief systems differ, but one thing is clear: we are learning that animals are a lot more like humans than we realized (and have been slow to admit).  

Veteran beekeepers don’t feel it’s a far cry to think that bees have a spirit or essence. 

Perhaps we’ll find out someday.  Until then, our bee sisters will dance on.



And…this one’s for my bee sisters:



Written by: maia

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