A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology reveals that bees can be trained to recognize human faces when associated with sugar water. During the study, bees were rewarded every time they visited an image of a human face, and received nothing when they approached a non-face like picture. In essence, the bees quickly associated face-like stimuli to an odd-looking flower that provides a sweet snack.
But could they remember this information? The researchers decided to find out.
They presented the bees with a fresh set of never-before-seen images. The insects were correctly able to identify and distinguish human facial features, and continuously visited the photograph with the most face-like characteristics (such as two dots for eyes, a dash for a nose and simple line for a mouth). When these facial features were scrambled on the picture, these little bugs were no longer able to recognize them as human faces and reward zones.
Some researchers say this study proves that bees are intelligent insects with the ability to distinguish environmental patterns and remember the information for survival.