"Researchers at Queen Mark, the University of London, and Royal Holloway have discovered that in their meandering, bees find the shortest possible route between the flowers they randomly discover. By doing so, the honey-lovin' insects are essentially solving the 'Traveling Salesman Problem' -- despite having brains the size of a pinhead.
The classic mathematical problem, first formulated in 1930, involves a traveling salesman who must find the most efficient itinerary that allows him to visit all locations on his route. It is one of the most intensively studied problems in optimization.
Computers solve it by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest.
'Foraging bees solve traveling salesman problems every day,' researcher Nigel Raine from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway explained. 'They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum.'"
Tiny Bee Brains Beat Computers at Complex Math Problems