Honeybee Navigations 20230307

Image Source: Frontiers

Bees navigate their home like early humans

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Pilots used lighthouses, highways, and other objects as navigational aids in a practise known as contact flying before cockpits were crowded with instrument clusters. Researchers have now discovered that bees, like those early aviators, “orient themselves” in reference to dominating linear terrain features in order to find their way home.

A century of “bee science” research, according to the journal Frontiers, has demonstrated that honeybees are skilled navigators who can make use of their sense of smell, the sun, the polarised light pattern in the sky, and possibly the Earth’s magnetic field. They are also outstanding students, which enables them to recognise various memories and develop broad principles.

Researchers have now demonstrated that honeybees use linear landscape features including rivers, highways, field margins, and other linear aspects to travel home in studies published in Frontiers’ Behavioural Neuroscience journal.

In a press release, Randolf Menzel, the study’s lead author stated that “Here we show that honeybees use a ‘navigation memory’, a kind of mental map of the area that they know, to guide their search flights when they look for their hive starting in a new, unexplored area. Linear landscape elements, such as water channels, roads, and field edges, appear to be important components of this navigation memory,”

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