Some people think bees are not given credit for how smart they are, while others think they will soon be taking over the world.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 28, 2021. It has since been updated.
Bees know how to get the job done. They know that teamwork makes the dream work and this was caught in action on camera. A video of two bees successfully opening a soft drinks bottle to reach the sugary liquid inside has now gone viral. We all know bees are super smart but they outdo themselves every day with something new up their sleeve. The tiny creatures are vital for our civilization as we depend on them to pollinate plants. They are also quite ingenious in how they build a structurally sound beehive and protect their queen from all harm.
The video was first uploaded to the YouTube channel ViralHog. The Fanta bottle that the bees claimed, belonged to a person from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The video was recorded during their lunch break at work. "I got a soda from a customer but soon the bees stole it," the person said of the video. The plastic bottle cap seemed to be gently placed on the bottle. Two bees perched on opposite sides of the cap, labored to screw the cap off, as the owner of the drink looked on. "The bees teamed up to steal my soda," the person can be heard saying in Portuguese. "And they will do it. Look, so smooth."
Well, that's it for humanity. We've had a decent run but if bees have mastered the screw-top lid I think this is the beginning of the end. pic.twitter.com/XyHonJ2q73— Michael Moran (@TheMichaelMoran) May 25, 2021
The video was even captioned "trabalho em equipe é tudo" which means "teamwork is everything." And it most certainly was. The video nearly has a million views. It soon made its way to other social media as well. Micheal Moran shared the video on Twitter and wrote: Well, that's it for humanity. We've had a decent run but if bees have mastered the screw-top lid I think this is the beginning of the end. The video has been met with a mixed reaction. While some people think bees are not given credit for how smart they are, there are others, like Moran, who think they will soon be taking over the world.
Humans are regressing and animals progressing.— Siobhan Mooney (@SiobhanMMooney) May 25, 2021
Years from now, when bees are running the world, this will be one of those anthropologic videos shown to young bees in school about a key moment in the evolution of their species - like when humans first used crude tools https://t.co/OShXOBRxwy— David Montero (@DaveMontero) May 25, 2021
I blame Dreamworks, bees were quite happy pollinating flowers and stinging people then along come Dreamworks with their radical ideas…— Steve Musto 🏴🇬🇧🇺🇸🇦🇺 ❌❌❌❌🔴💙 (@muskrat_london) May 25, 2021
[Two years ago in the Fanta viral marketing department]— Matthew Federman (@matthewfederman) May 25, 2021
“It just seems like we’re spending a lot of money on bee trainers.”
“These things take time, Chad!” https://t.co/nfgR8rXkuD
The hive mind. If just two bees can do this, just imagine what a swarm can do...— Maren Bennette (@marenbennette) May 25, 2021
You'd think so, but the next episode shows the rest of the hive applying their weight to tip the bottle gradually so they can drink safely. Returning to the hive their small drops of urine are used as fuel. That's where BP comes from.— Mike Danson (@MikeDanson1) May 25, 2021
If you had asked me yesterday if two bees could open a bottle of soda, I would have laughed and said "no" and would have been 99.999% sure I was correct.— Scott (he/him) (@ScottFromTwitch) May 26, 2021
Today, I'm side eyeing everything weird in my house and wondering if "the bees did it." https://t.co/ObXCAjRfI7
“To bee, or not to bee, that is the question”.— Marilyn Williams (@JoyMWilliams) May 25, 2021
The bees maybe tiny compared to us but their intelligence has been proven time and again through research. According to Science Alert, bees are able to learn from each other, work together, use tools, and even do basic math. Despite having a brain that is a fraction the size of our own, the bees have shown many smarts. Karl von Frisch, was the Austrian scientist who first researched and was awarded the Nobel prize for the honey bee waggle dance. He found that it was a non-verbal form of communication among bees collecting nectar. He believed that bees functioned on hardwired instinct and not intelligence.
But even he admitted that bees were capable of accomplishing "astonishing intellectual feats." But even he could not have imagined them being able to unscrew the cap of a Fanta bottle. Recent research with bumblebees shows that they "show cognitive flexibility by improving on an observed complex behavior." Researchers found that smart bees would undertake a task not in their usual job description if they knew there was a reward at the end of it. In the research, "bees were trained to know the correct location of the ball. Subsequently, to obtain a reward, bees had to move a displaced ball to the defined location."
Bees can quickly master an insect version of football — with a sweet reward at the end — just by watching another bee handle the ball, suggesting that the tiny pollinators are capable of sophisticated learning https://t.co/5SO61sqzGu pic.twitter.com/LH2YQQehf2— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) August 4, 2020
The movement of the ball was demonstrated via a “ghost” demonstration (ball moved via magnet.) The bees turned out to be smarter than assumed and moved a ball closest to the target to get the same result. "Such unprecedented cognitive flexibility hints that entirely novel behaviors could emerge relatively swiftly in species whose lifestyle demands advanced learning abilities, should relevant ecological pressures arise," the research stated. Then the bees unscrewing a bottle cap is not all that far-fetched at all.