Ants Place Flower Petals Over the Deceased Bee Creating a Proper Funeral

source: Youtube/ViralHog

When we encounter difficulties in our relationships with others, it can be enlightening to observe the animal kingdom for inspiration. One remarkable example of unexpected kindness can be witnessed through the actions of a group of ants.

In a peculiar incident, a video captured ants appearing to hold a funeral for a bumblebee. The footage shows the bumblebee resting on gravel, surrounded by pinkish-purple flower petals. To the surprise of onlookers, the petals gradually move closer to the bee. It becomes evident that the ants are transporting the flower petals and placing them around the deceased bee. Sharing this extraordinary occurrence, Nicole Webinger wrote on Facebook that the video was taken outside of her work by the garden. A bumblebee that had died was on the ground, and the ants were carrying flower petals to place around it. It looked like the ants were having a funeral for the bee. Webinger, who works in Stillwater, Minnesota, was very surprised by what she saw. The video became very popular in a short amount of time.

Interestingly, this is not the first instance of ants seemingly organizing a funeral for a bee. Photos shared on Twitter by user Sophia Klahr depict circular floral arrangements around several dead bees, adorned with yellow flower petals. Klahr was amazed by what she saw: “I have put Twitter back on my phone specifically to show you these circular arrangements of petals I found around multiple dead bees. If you are a scientist who knows what the hell is going on here, please tell me!” According to IFL Science, the ants may not be saying a respectful goodbye to the bees.

Ants live in intricate colonies and rely on various pheromones for communication. These chemical signals serve purposes such as marking trails, warning of danger, or even indicating the presence of deceased ants so that others can be cautious. It stands to reason that ants would be sensitive to the chemical cues of other animals. Regarding the dead bees, it remains unclear why they perished. Nevertheless, their lifeless bodies likely emit some form of message to the ants, prompting their peculiar response of adorning the corpses with floral tributes. Alternatively, the ants may view the bees as a potential source of food, and covering them with flower petals could be an attempt to protect their meal from other scavengers.

In essence, the act of arranging flower petals over the bees may be an instinctual behavior to conceal their food source, much like placing unidentified leftovers in the fridge to deter prying roommates. Another theory suggests that the bees emitted a signal indicating the need for tidiness, triggering the ants’ cleaning instincts. Ants are known to practice necrophoresis, a behavior where they remove dead members of their colony to designated burial sites, thereby preventing the spread of pathogens. Although the ants’ intentions remain uncertain, it is plausible that they are engaging in a similar task with the bees, covering the corpses to avoid drawing attention.

While alternative explanations exist, the notion of an ant funeral still holds a certain charm. This story shows us that even in the miniature world of ants, unexpected displays of care and unity can be observed.