Bumblebees are capable of cultural transmission, as shown in a recent study published in PLOS Biology.
Researchers trained bumblebees to open a puzzle box to access a sugar solution. These trained bees then transmitted the task to untrained bees, creating a cultural signature for their colony.
The study showed that bumblebees can maintain a cultural tradition even when presented with an alternative action.
The ability to learn new behaviors proves that culture exists in species beyond primates and birds.
The study’s lead author, Alice Bridges, suggests that other social insects, such as honeybees and leaf cutter ants, likely have the same capacity for culture.