2012 was not all about colony collapses and neonicotinoidal imidacloprid pesticides. There was some lighter news. In December, we learned that honey bees were being trained to stick their tongues out. Some top-notch scientists at Bielefeld University in Germany are teaching bees as smart as Einstein to stick out their tongues whenever their antennae encounter a particular type of material.
Very Pavlovian-dog style here:
The bees are rewarded a drop of sugar syrup (for which they naturally extend their tongue) whenever the feel of the test material is right. The smart little bugs soon start sticking their tongues out before getting fed, in anticipation of their treat. Behavioral biologist researcher Dr Dürr says, “If you can train an insect to respond to a certain stimulus, then you can ask the bees questions in the form of ‘Is A like B? If so, stick your tongue out.” Maybe Dürr can link up with Bayer and see if test results are improved with the help of the nerve toxin neonicotinoids, or not?