Aww!
Bumblebees playing like puppies is the most adorable thing to see
The more I learn about bees, the more I love them.
Megan Bennett
11.30.22

Watching puppies roll around in the grass, or kittens chasing a string, are some of the cutest things you can see.

But, do other types of animals play? And what about insects?

Turns out, the answer is YES!

Many different scientific researchers have conducted studies to find out if insects, specifically bumblebees, like to play and all signs point to yes.

Our friendly little pollinators like to play just as much as any other species in the animal kingdom.

Youtube - SciShow
Source:
Youtube - SciShow

But what activities constitute play?

There are 5 different factors that need to be met for an activity to be considered playing including that the animal does it of their own accord with no goal in sight, and that they do it more that once.

How can you tell though, if an animal is doing something for play or for another reason?

Youtube - SciShow
Source:
Youtube - SciShow

By setting up a bumblebee obstacle course of course!

To judge whether the bumblebees being studied were actually playing by their own decision, or just trying to find food, scientists set up an obstacle course to find out.

By setting up three chambers in a row, adding a delicious sugary treat to chamber 3, little balls to roll around and play with in chamber 2, and the bees in the first chamber, the onlookers could watch the bee’s activity.

Youtube - SciShow
Source:
Youtube - SciShow

The goal was to see if the bees would stop and play in the ball chamber or continue on straight to the food.

Every single bee they put through this mini obstacle course stopped to roll at least one ball, with one bee rolling the balls 44 different times.

While the bees knew there was food around, they have an incredible sense of smell, they all stopped to check out their surroundings and take a moment to play.

Youtube - SciShow
Source:
Youtube - SciShow

But what can just one test prove? Not much, so they did another!

In the scientists’ second test, they had 4 chambers this time, one with the food, one with the bees, and then the other 2 chambers, one with balls and one without, would be swapped out.

Eventually, the bees learned to recognize one of the chambers had the balls in it. For the final step of this test, the bees were given a choice, go through the ballroom or the empty room on their way to their food.

Youtube - SciShow
Source:
Youtube - SciShow

Almost all the bees chose to go through the chamber full of balls.

It is also interesting to note that the age of the bees impacted whether they wanted to play or not; the older bees weren’t really as interested while the younger ones had a great time rolling around the balls.

This may be because, while the older bees were pros at clinging onto flowers and getting to the pollen, the younger ones could use a little practice.

Bees live anywhere from about 30-60 days, and they spend almost all of that time on the hunt for food.

So, while some of the younger bees might have been playing with the balls to get a little practice, the older bees were doing it just for fun.

Next time you see a bumblebee, don’t swat at it. Instead, remain calm and just watch; they are intensely fascinating creatures that we all need to survive.

Check out the bees and their balls in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Article Sources:
To learn more read our Editorial Standards.
By Megan Bennett
[email protected]
Megan Bennett is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement