Not all work and no play as busy bumble bees play ball

31 October 2022

Researchers at London’s Queen Mary University have found bumble bees like to play, and accordingly, experience positive feelings. Despite there being no purpose to the activity, groups of bees rolled small wooden balls, sometimes repeatedly, around a chamber, for what researchers could only determine was fun.

Study first-author, Samadi Galpayage, Ph.D. student at Queen Mary University of London says that “it is certainly mind-blowing, at times amusing, to watch bumble bees show something like play. They approach and manipulate these ‘toys’ again and again. It goes to show, once more, that despite their little size and tiny brains, they are more than small robotic beings.”

This is reportedly the first instance of playful activity being observed in any insect species.