10 April 2013
Researchers from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary have found that bees are smart enough to pick out the most nectar-rich 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. “We found [their choices] happened because of a series of associations that come about in the same way we might associate a dentist with fear,” Erika Dawson told The Times. The paper, published this week in Current Biology, is authored by PhD student Erika Dawson, Professor Lars Chittka, Dr Aurore Avargues-Weber and Dr Ellouise Leadbeater, who joins QM from the Institute of Zoology later this year.