How a Bee Thinks

How a Bee Thinks

Thank you for your interest in my presentation on honey bee senses & cognition. Here is a summary list of books, papers, blogs, & websites that you can use to learn more about this topic.

General References on Honey Bee Senses & Cognition

  • Book: The Buzz About Bees, Tautz
  • Book: Honey Bee Democracy, Thomas Seeley
  • Paper: The Amazing Mini-Brain: Lessions from a Honey Bee, Martin Giurfa, Bee World, 84(1): 5–18 (2003),
  • Paper: Honeybees as a Model for the Study of Visually Guided Flight, Navigation, and Biologically Inspired Robotics, Mandyam V. Srinivasan,
  • Honey Bee Anatomy.
  • NC State Dept. Entomology tutorial on insect behavior:


  • Bees detect cancer:
  • Scientists train honeybees to detect explosives, 2008:
  • Inscentinel – I suspect that this company is out of business. Their website is no longer live. Currently, this work seems to continue at Los Alamos National Labs



Compound Eyes, Ocelli, Ultraviolet, & Polarized Light

  • Honeybees as a Model for the Study of Visually Guided Flight, Navigation, and Biologically Inspired Robotics, Mandyam V. Srinivasan,
  • This photographer takes pictures in the ultra-violet so he is able to show the same flower in the human-perceived spectrum and the bee-perceived spectrum.
  • On light polarization and navigation: &
  • On how bees might use polarized vision:
  • On ocelli:

Vibrations, Sound, & Electroreception



  • I found many papers on this subject. The following one seems to provide the best survey of this topic.;7/Suppl_2/S207
  • Thomas E Ferrari, “Magnets, magnetic field fluctuations and geomagnetic disturbances impair the homing ability of honey bees (Apis mellifera)”, September 2014, Journal of Apicultural Research, Vol. 53 (4) pp. 452-465,

Insect Behavior & Intelligence

  • Dr Menzel: Lots of good papers here. A good one to start with is
  • NC State Univ Tutorial:

Associative Learning & Classical Conditioning


Concepts & Cognitive Maps

  • Conceptual Learning by Miniature Brains, Aurore Avargues-Weber and Martin Giurfa,
  • The author cites numerous papers that find that bees utilize cognitive maps then proposes counter arguments to cognitive maps in bees, Do Animals Have Cognitive Maps?, Andrew T. D. Bennett,
  • Honey bees navigate according to a map-like spatial memory,
  • Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map,

Time Sense & Numerical Cognition

  • Animal Cognition: An Insect’s Sense of Time?, Peter Skorupski and Lars Chittka,
  • Numerical Cognition in Bees and Other Insects, Mario Pahl, Aung Si, and Shaowu Zhang,
  • Can honey bees count landmarks?, Chittka and Geiger (1995),

Social Learning

  • Goulson, D., Park, K.J., Tinsley, M.C., Bussière, L.F. & Vallejo-Marin, M. 2013. Social learning drives handedness in nectar robbing bumblebees. BEHAVIOURAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY 67: 1141-1150. [PDF 426.63KB]

Recruitment/Waggle Dance

  • Tom Seeley video on hive intelligence:
  • See his book, Honey Bee Democracy

Honey Bee Inspired Science

Honey Bee Science Fiction

  • Greenpeace, new bees video:
  • Greenpeace,