This comment was posted by DKNY on the rather excellent Not Exactly Rocket Science article on bee warning behaviour
perhaps this is a very stupid question but I am just a high school student so hopefully someone might answer this without the condescension I have come to expect when asking questions on blogs.
Anyway I just find it amazing the amount of rather complex behavior that bugs like bees and ants are capable of considering they only have a couple thousand brain cells and I am curios how they know to do any of it. do bees know exactly what it is their doing, is there any kind of actual thought involved? like do they make a decision to issue that warning buzz or is it completely instinctual and automatic like me knowing to pull my hand away when I touch something burning hot without thinking about it? if it is entirely instinctual how come they warn some bees that are advertising a dangerous location and not others? And because they do that it must mean there is some degree of decision making involved, right?
Does anyone have a good response?