How to Train a Bumblebee: Scientists Study Insect Intelligence

October 21, 2016 - Bumblebees can not only learn to pull a string to obtain a reward through structured training, but they can also transmit this skill socially. Animal behavior researcher Lars Chittka and colleagues used a method commonly applied to birds and mammals. Food, in this case sugar water, is available to an animal—if it can get at it. Through increasingly challenging setups, selected bumblebees eventually developed the consistent practice of pulling a string to get at the prize. But once one bee was trained, others could then learn just by watching and interacting with a more experienced peer.