Bees do incredible things. Over the past year, we’ve recorded them using tools to fight murder hornets and caught them cheating on math tests. With proper motivation, what is there that bees can’t do? In one of the latest displays of their power, two bees were recorded working together to remove a screw cap on a bottle of Fanta so they could get the sweet treat.
Check out the 11 second video of the bees working together below.
In the caption for the video, the original tweeter suggests that humans regularly underestimate their intelligence. Some have responded to this tweet with humor at the Fanta-stealing bees.
Others have suggested that bees are not as smart as some of the amazed Twitter users feel they are.
This user suggests that the bees managed to remove the Fanta lid by “wiggling randomly”. That is plausible but seems unlikely. If you watch the video, you’ll see that the bees are positioned opposite each other on the lid. Their work looks like they’re coordinating their efforts. Outside of the land of soda bottle caps, it would seem like bees likely have to find ways to collect sugar from sources tricky to get into regularly. If they can figure out how to collect materials and use them to fight murder hornets as a group, it would seem to be a likely conclusion that they’re doing this together, right?
Well, what we know about bees so far actually backs up that they are most likely working together to remove the Fanta cap. Bees have what is sometimes called swarm intelligence. We see this in hives, as they work together to serve their queen and accomplish complicated tasks.
This has also been observed when they’re working to protect the group. There was the murder hornet example, where they were observed collecting animal feces and applying it to the outside of their hives to ward off murder hornet attacks. Then there are cases of bees swarming together to protect their nest during cases of high winds. Some of the bees will protect the weight of the nest on the branch, they’ll hold onto each other, and some may leave to go find a new place for the nest that would be better protected from the wind. This can last for several coordinated hours. It makes two bees removing a Fanta lid seem fairly predictable, right?
The doubtful Twitter user also questioned how strong the Fanta cap could have been screwed on. How strong are bees anyway? This is a great question with a surprising answer. They’re extremely and impressively strong! For example, many human beings who are many times larger than a little bee find walking six miles to be kind of a pain. Unless they’re in shape, many of the office-bound humans of the world are not up for a six-mile walk. And yet, a bee can fly up to six miles at 15 miles per hour. That suggests a great deal of strength and endurance. Bees are good about doing their cardio and it shows.
Moreover, bees have feet. Most insects don’t, but bees do. This would help with unscrewing the Fanta cap. Their feet are meant to be adaptable to many different surfaces. They need to be able to firmly stand on flower petals, which are often slick, so they have feet surfaces that are padded and able to provide some friction. This, combined with their strength, makes removing the Fanta cap easier. Of course, the lid may have been fairly unscrewed before the bees arrived, but even so, learning how to twist it in the correct direction and slide the cap off is still an impressive example of just how far bees can go to get the job done when orange soda is within their reach.