Perspectives: The Secret Inner Life of Bees; January/February 2012; Scientific American Mind; by Jason Castro; 2 Page(s)
If you have never watched bees carefully, you are missing out. Look closely as they gently curl and uncoil their mouthparts around food, and you will sense that they are not just eating but enjoying their meal. Watch a bit more, and the hesitant flicks and sags of their antennae seem to convey some kind of emotion. Do those twitches signal annoyance? Or something like enthusiasm?
Whether bees really experience any of these emotions is an open scientific question. It is also an important one, with implications for how we should treat not just bees but the great majority of animals. Recently studies by Melissa Bateson and her colleagues at Newcastle University in England have rekindled the debate over these issues by showing that honeybees may experience something akin to moods.