The Mind of a Bee


The Mind of a Bee Author: Format: Paperback First Published: Published By: Princeton University Press
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Pages: 344 Illustrations and other contents: 57 colour illustrations ISBN: 9780691253893 Categories: , Tag:

A rich and surprising exploration of the intelligence of bees

Most of us are aware of the hive mind-the power of bees as an amazing collective. But do we know how uniquely intelligent bees are as individuals? In The Mind of a Bee, Lars Chittka draws from decades of research, including his own pioneering work, to argue that bees have remarkable cognitive abilities. He shows that they are profoundly smart, have distinct personalities, can recognize flowers and human faces, exhibit basic emotions, count, use simple tools, solve problems, and learn by observing others. They may even possess consciousness.

Taking readers deep into the sensory world of bees, Chittka illustrates how bee brains are unparalleled in the animal kingdom in terms of how much sophisticated material is packed into their tiny nervous systems. He looks at their innate behaviors and the ways their evolution as foragers may have contributed to their keen spatial memory. Chittka also examines the psychological differences between bees and the ethical dilemmas that arise in conservation and laboratory settings because bees feel and think. Throughout, he touches on the fascinating history behind the study of bee behavior.

Exploring an insect whose sensory experiences rival those of humans, The Mind of a Bee reveals the singular abilities of some of the world’s most incredible creatures.


Weight0.6 kg




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 "Finalist for the PROSE Award in Biological Sciences"
  • "A thorough and thoughtful primer on the interiority of bees."---Mike Welch, Scientific American
  • "The book's bees astound; so too the clever humans who study them."---Robert Eagan, Library Journal, starred review
  • "The knowledge on offer here is as entertaining as it is edifying. Readers won't look at bees the same way again." * Publishers Weekly *
  • "This is an outstanding book that provides a comprehensive overview of honeybee cognition. It provides a clear introduction to the field for amateur bee lovers as well as a nuanced and up-to-date summary for professionals. By looking at the world through the lens of a bee, readers will develop tools to better understand the distinct and vivid experiences of tiny invertebrates that are too frequently ignored."---Elizabeth A. Tibbetts, Current Biology
  • "An entrancing journey through the senses and life struggles of bees."---Alun Anderson, New Scientist
  • "The Mind of a Bee is a fascinating book that I hope will be read and understood by as broad an audience as possible, so that the important conclusions within may be shared more widely."---Amanda Williams, Buzz about Bees
  • "This is an amazing book. I give it my highest recommendation."---David Gascoigne, Travels with Birds
  • "I strongly recommend you read [Chittka's] book and if you will excuse the pun 'make your own mind up'. Science and nature writing at its finest and an essential read."---Roy Stewart, British Naturalists' Association
  • "Written with moments of levity and soaked in curiosity, The Mind of a Bee is a delight."---Eliza Middleton, The Conversation
  • "Chittka has managed the extraordinary feat of condensing over three decades of research into a single book and in such a way as to make it accessible to the non-expert." * Beekeepers Quarterly *
  • "A] devoted, accessible analysis."---Andrew Robinson, Nature
  • "Bee behaviour is undoubtedly fascinating and Chittka is the ideal author to explain the intricacies of how bees learn and make decisions."---John Badmin, British Journal of Entomology and Natural History
  • "Engaging and intellectually stimulating. . . .Despite it being basically a science book, The Mind of a Bee keeps you glued like it were an action-packed story where you just need to know the final conclusion."---Mihai Andrei, ZME Science
  • "An entertaining and enlightening read."---Helen Gray, Animal Welfare
  • "Lars Chittka's book is timely indeed, as it vividly describes and scientifically underpins the stunning intellectual power of these little creatures. . . .Highly recommend this book to everybody interested in nature- layman or professional."---Rudolf Alexander Steinbrecht, Arthropod Structure & Development
  • "A wonderful journey into the fascinating world of bee intelligence and consciousness." * Conservation Biology *
  • "The Mind of a Bee makes for fascinating reading. The book's tight structure and numerous illustrations make it accessible . . . . [And I have] been thoroughly convinced by Chittka that bees are anything but little automatons."---Leon Vlieger, Inquisitive Biologist

Author Biography

Lars Chittka is professor of sensory and behavioral ecology at Queen Mary University of London. He is the coeditor of Cognitive Ecology of Pollination.

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