Bees learn to drive tiny cars

“Are we there yet? You know, we could have flown.”

I wouldn’t believe this if I had seen it with my own eyes! Sam Droege, bee scientist extraordinaire, has a USGS Flickr website populated with great bee photographs. Last week, somewhere around April first, Sam posted the results of some clandestine bee training going on in a secret lab in the USA. They are teaching bees to drive tiny cars!

The scientists reward successful drivers (“Keep it between the ditches, ladies!”) with a sweet treat. Eventually, I guess, the bees get good at driving and take their car out for a spin, just for fun. I understand that they . . .  well, let Sam’s group tell the story:

Bees Learn to Drive Very Small Cars.

Scientists capitalized on recent revelations that bees are a lot smarter than previously thought. In addition to being able to count and solve simple puzzles USGS scientists at the Patuxent Native Bee Lab have taught bees to driver miniaturized automobiles. Using rewards such as flower smoothies and honey laced with addictive pollens, bees were gradually induced to drive in order to continue receiving their rewards. The study came to an unfortunate ending when one of the lab assistants was overwhelmed by angry bees who felt that the researchers were holding back on their pollen loads. Future plans are in the work to use less coercive methods and talks are in progress with several bee advocacy groups. For release on April 1, 2019.  Photography by Brooke Goggins.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Humour, Native Bees, Science, Strange, Odd Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bees learn to drive tiny cars

  1. Emily Scott says:

    Is this for real? Wonder what the end purpose is. That poor researcher!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      The bees would deliver honey to stores for the beekeepers.


      • Anonymous says:

        These are bumblebees, not honeybees. Bumblebees do not make honey like a honeybee and are not managed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron Miksha says:

        Right. They are just learning how to drive and deliver honey, not how to make honey.
        However, several species of bumblebees are managed for pollination projects. In Central America, you can buy bumblebee honey (not to bee confused with stingless bee honey) but it’s quite rare and actually should probably be banned as it damages the bees’ success.


  2. Emily Scott says:

    Ok I see now the release date of 1st April. You got me by waiting a few days to post it! Bees do so many amazing things that driving cars does seem plausible!

    Liked by 1 person

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