How bees find the shortest way home

Bees can fly quite far from their hive in search of the flowers they need, and then unmistakably find their way back - even despite the dense vegetation and the dark.

Bees and many other insects use what is called optical flux to navigate the terrain, determine the speed of movement and range. In the perception of insects, everything that surrounds them moves, while they themselves remain motionless at this time.

A group of scientists at Lund University (Sweden) in the course of research determined which neurons in the bee's brain are involved in measuring speed and distance traveled, as well as which neurons are responsible for orientation in space.

In the laboratory, the researchers placed electrodes in individual nerve cells in the bees' brains and, using impulses, simulated a flight in search of food in the rainforest. The research data were then used to compile a mathematical model of the bee's brain.

The results of the experiments amazed scientists. As it turned out, having a brain the size of a grain of rice, where neurons are 100 thousand times less than in humans, bees accurately navigate the terrain and find their way to their hive and fly there by the shortest route. At the same time, a person with his uniquely developed brain is increasingly using GPS in the same situation.

Bees, like many other living things, including humans, have the ability to compare and analyze the general picture of the surrounding landscape when they are outside their home, in order to find the shortest way back. This can happen even without using any noticeable terrain details: some people also have a sense of direction on an intuitive level.

The resulting model of bee behavior was used to create the robot's navigation system. The calculations turned out to be correct - with its help, he returned to the starting point along the shortest path.