Bees Love to Play!

By Shlomo Maital    

    As one who researches creativity, I have long taught how we adults need to restore our childlike playfulness, in order to exploit fully our creative potential.  Creative ideas often emerge from a relaxed, playful atmosphere.

   Hence, I was pleased and astonished to hear the host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, Ayesha Rascoe, report on a study of —   how bees love to play!  Here is a short account of this research:

     ‘Not only do bumblebees pollinate, make honey and even count, but they also seem to like to throw a ball around. A new study published in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour found that the furry little insects like to play with toys. This is the first time an insect, any insect has been observed playing with an object. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London put wooden balls near the bumblebees, giving them the option of passing them by or going out of their way to play. And many of them, pardon the pun, made a beeline for the balls, rolling them or doing somersaults while holding them.   Researchers said that because the bees like to play, it may be proof that they’re also capable of experiencing feelings – more specifically that they are able to have positive feelings. The authors noted that just like other mammals, including humans, of course, younger bees seem to be more playful than the older ones who are probably like me, just trying to go about their day. They also hope that the findings will make us appreciate the little creatures and do more to protect them and their habitat.’

   Reading between the lines: I conclude that play is how the younger bees learn about the world, while older bees ‘know it all’…. Sound familiar?