Recently, life is not so kind to bees. About five years ago, beekeepers began to report that their students leave the hive and die together (first reported on this phenomenon OnEarth summer of 2006). Syndrome destruction of colonies, the scientists gave its name to this mysterious phenomenon. It is reported that each year in the United States, about 30 percent of the insects exposed to phenomena. The reason for this phenomenon may be of any stressor, from pesticides to pathogens. Meanwhile, about a third of the world's grain crops require pollination by honey bees. Therefore, this problem worries both scientists and farmers.
But what to feel yourself a bee? Researchers from Newcastle University have taken the first steps to examine the issue. It seems that the honey bee "is much more complicated than we thought," said study co-author, Melissa Betsen ethologist. She and her colleagues found that the bees, it appears, have emotions similar to ours, man.
Honeybees are pretty smart. They are famous, thanks to collaboration with other bees from their hive by "wag the dance," so they tell where to find pollen. Also, bees can be trained. Therefore, researchers from Newcastle University strapped workers honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica) and gave two sniff smell. After one try, they give the bees sugar, after another — bitter quinine. Pretty soon, the bees learned the difference between smells, sticking tongues to the smell, which they associated with the sweet, and not to another.
Then the researchers shook half the bees to simulate an attack on the hive predators such as badgers, and then offered two of the same odor and three mixtures of smells. Bees, which was subjected to shaking, also sticks out his tongue at the smell, which they associated with sugar, but they are less likely than those not exposed to stress the bees, did the same to unfamiliar smells. It seems that an unpleasant event turned shaking bees exposed to the pessimists. Even if the chance that the unfamiliar smell follow something tasty, will be equal to what the smell followed by something unpleasant, in most cases, they expect that it will be followed unpleasant.
Betsen reports that their pessimistic behavior is very similar to what happens to a man, "as he is concerned, or depression." She explains: "For example, if I'm depressed, but a friend said that he does not have time to go somewhere with me, more likely, I apprehend it is, like I said I do not like him than just he does not have time to go somewhere with me. " As frustrated people excited bees have lower levels of the hormone serotonin.
Of course, even these intelligent insects can never tell us what it means to be a bee. But researchers can study their decision-making mechanisms, which are known as cognitive distortions (biases in thinking or formulaic deviation in judgment that occur in certain situations, approx. Mixednews), and compare them with the mechanisms of those people who can talk about his mood . Betsen said that the similarities between the behavior of bees and pessimistic pessimistic human behavior can mean one of two things: "cognitive distortion is a poor method of determining emotions" in animals, as opposed to a person, or "bees have emotions," which may or may not be similar to ours.
Betsen believes that these tests can identify other emotions bees, and this will help researchers finally find a method by which you can "ask" honey bees, as well as other species, as they're doing before they reach crisis condition. Today they just can only say that "for the bees subjected to stress the glass is half empty." And as their population is significantly reduced, it may mean that honey bees spend their working life in anticipation of the worst.