5-speed listening (Bees and Balls - Level 2)

Bees like playing with balls, study finds






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Bees are very busy. We all know the English saying "as busy as a bee". However, we know little about how bees play. Scientists have found one way that bees might relax after a busy day making honey - they play with balls. The scientists did different tests on bees playing with different things. The insects liked playing with wooden balls. The researchers said bees played a little like humans. Younger bees played with more balls than older bees, while adult males played with balls for longer than adult females did. The bees are the first known insects to "play".

The scientists did tests on 45 bumblebees. The bees had two options. The first was to fly or walk directly to a sugary treat. The second choice was to get to the treat after going around coloured wooden balls. Most of the bees decided to play with the balls for their treat. A scientist said the tests showed that bees are more thoughtful than we knew. She said: "Bees are a million miles from the…unfeeling creatures they are traditionally believed to be." She added that there is "a strong indication that insect minds are far more sophisticated than we might imagine".

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