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What the scientists found

1276 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Charles
I have just come across another word to be used in conjunction with the already growing specialised words we have within the beekeeping world.

It’s ; subitizing

This means responding rapidly to a small number of items.

What has that got to do with beekeeping you may well ask?

It’s the name given to a series of tests to establish that the Honey bee can tell the difference between different numbers at a glance.

From the Paper.

In an exquisitely designed experiment researchers have shown the bees can discriminate between patterns containing two and three dots – without having to count the dots.
However at four five and six dots their maths seems to have run out.

The scientists claim that the bees use two memory systems. First is the working memory to remember dots that lead to a reward. The second system is to use memory rules. The distances the bees would fly to locate a reward was 11 Km.
Finally they sum up with, ‘ tantalising question is whether bees can actually perform elementary mathematics ‘.

I can not write my immediate thoughts on this experiment as swearing is not permitted. But for goodness sake would not this research money be put to better use than to find out if bees can count.
The experiment was carried out in Australia ( I understand that Fosters is a strong larger).

I thought you might like to know what the bee scientists are getting up to.

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I think it proves nothing. My guess is the dots were put in the same order, creating a picture the bees could memorize. 2 or 4 dots means nothing. the pattern they are in makes a design the bees come to recognize. Change the dots to X's halfway down the trail, or take the dots out of a straight line and make a square with them, and the bees will become confused and lose their way. It has nothing to do with counting.

As for wasting money, how about 350,000 dollars to see how many people eat bacon for breakfast? That happened here in the good old US.
draw me up a guiness and hand me that smart bee :lol:
In case anyone wants to read the full article:
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