The birds and, uhhh….

Scientific American reveals the emotional life of bees. Yes, insects do have emotional lives:

Recently, studies by Geraldine Wright and her colleagues at Newcastle University in the UK have rekindled debate over these issues by showing that honeybees may experience something akin to moods.

Using simple behavioral tests, Wright’s research team showed that like other lab-tested brooders — which so far include us, monkeys, dogs, and starlings — stressed bees tend to see the glass as half empty. While this doesn’t (and can’t) prove that bees experience human-like emotions, it does give pause. We should take seriously the possibility that it feels like something to be an insect.

[H]alf of the bees got a trip to the vortexer.

It was probably as unpleasant for them as it sounds. In a procedure meant to simulate a badger attack on a hive, the bees were shaken for one minute in a benchtop machine used to vigorously mix chemicals. If anything would put bees in bad mood, this would be it.

Next, both shaken and unshaken bees were tested on five mixtures of hexanol and octanone at different concentrations. Unsurprisingly, both groups were more likely to advance their mouths to octanol heavy mixtures (which predicted sugar) than hexanol heavy mixtures (which predicted quinine). Interestingly though, the shaken bees were more reluctant to advance toward the mixtures than their unshaken counterparts.

The poor dears.