Everyone knows that bees are busy. There is even a saying English that one can be "as busy as a bee". However, little is known how bees play. Scientists have discovered one way that bees could relax a busy day making honey - they play balls. The scientists are from Queen Mary University London. They did different tests on bees "playing" with different things. The insects particularly liked playing small, wooden balls. The researchers said the way bees played was a little 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 45 bumblebees 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 different coloured wooden balls. Most the bees decided to play 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 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."