Honeybee

Honeybees are able to calculate probability and use it to find food

A honeybee on a lavender plant

Gregory Johnston / Alamy

Honeybees are able to calculate probability, but it seems they don’t use it the same way humans tend to.

Andrew B. Barron at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues trained 20 honeybees to associate colours of artificial flowers with the likelihood of obtaining sweet water. Over multiple sessions, they presented the bees with combinations of two out of five colours, ranked one to five. For each pair, only the higher-ranking colour dispensed sweetened water.

The researchers then tested the bees on a combination they hadn’t seen yet: …