Like Humans, Bees Can Be Right Or Left Handed

Posted: Nov 5 2017, 4:52am CST | by , Updated: Nov 5 2017, 4:55am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Like Humans, Bees can be Right or Left Handed
Credit: The University of Queensland

The findings could be used as a strategy for steering fleets of drone aircrafts

Humans are not the only ones with the left or the right-handed preferences. Researchers have found that honeybees also show individual biases in "left- and right-handedness" when they face obstacles during flying.

Scientists already know that flying insects like bees have a complex navigation system that allows them to find their way home. But this is the first time researchers have been able to see that honeybees have innate preferences for flying left or right hand and it varies from one individual to another.

"Unlike humans, who are mostly right-handed, some bees display a strong left bias, others a strong right bias, and yet others a weak or zero bias.” Professor Mandyam (Srini) Srinivasan from University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute said.

To investigate and analyze route choice behavior of bees, researchers tracked around 100 forging honeybees and released them into a 47-inch long tunnel containing a feeder at the end and an obstacle in the middle. The obstacle had two openings with one twice as large than the other. During experiments, most of the bees choose the bigger passage that was presumably safer and quicker to fly through.

But when the openings were adjusted to the same size about 55 percent of the bees displayed no preference for any passage. However, remaining 45 percent preferred either left gap or right gap. The results remained the same after the 10 flights through the tunnel.

“"We believe these individual biases help to improve the flight efficiency of a swarm of bees through densely cluttered environments," said Professor Srinivasan.

"Flying insects constantly face the challenge of choosing efficient, safe and collision-free routes while navigating through dense foliage. This finding could potentially be used as strategy for steering a fleet of drone aircraft,"

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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