Everyone knows that bees are busy. There is even a saying in English that one can be "as busy as a bee". However, little is known about how bees play. Scientists have discovered one way that bees could relax after a busy day making honey - they play with balls. The scientists are from Queen Mary University of London. They did different tests on bees "playing" with different things. The insects particularly liked playing with small, wooden balls. The researchers said the way bees played was a little like how humans play. Younger bees rolled more balls than older bees, while adult males spent longer playing with balls than adult females. The ball-rolling bees are the first known insects to "play".
The researchers experimented on 45 bumblebees in a specially designed test area. The bees were given two options. The first choice was to fly or walk directly to get a sugary treat. The second choice was to get to the treat by going around different coloured wooden balls. Most of the bees decided to play with the balls and then get their treat. A researcher said the experiments showed that bees are more thoughtful than people believed. She said: "Bees are a million miles from the mindless, unfeeling creatures they are traditionally believed to be." She added that: "This research provides a strong indication that insect minds are far more sophisticated than we might imagine."