Drones? No, each bee has a personality

By Tamara Cohen

Some bees are thrill-seekers while other opt for a more cautious attitude to life. Photo / Thinkstock
Some bees are thrill-seekers while other opt for a more cautious attitude to life. Photo / Thinkstock

Frankly, you might not have noticed as they buzz through the summer pollinating crops and making honey.

But it appears that, like humans, bees have different personality traits... and choose their jobs to suit them.

Some are thrill-seekers while others opt for a more cautious attitude to life, researchers found.

A small number are food scouts who go out in squads to find new flower patches. And some are nest scouts who leave their hive to found a new one when the bees outgrow their living quarters.

Scientists at the University of Illinois in the U.S. found that these thrill-seeking bees have distinct patterns in their genes which are also associated with risk-taking humans.

Lead author Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology, wrote in the journal Science: 'In humans, differences in novelty-seeking are a component of personality.

'Could insects also have personalities? Our results say that novelty-seeking in humans and other vertebrates has parallels in an insect.'

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