The emotional state of a bee is not something I had considered before reading Annette McGivney’s fascinating essay, but now I know that a bee can experience both dopamine and a form of PTSD, I will always wonder just how their day is going. The new light that McGivney sheds on insects feels significant, and as she argues, it may be time to realize that “creatures without a backbone have rights, too.”

Bees are the only pollinators that must get enough food for themselves as well as harvest large amounts of pollen and nectar to support their colony. They must memorize the landscape, evaluate flower options and make quick decisions in a constantly changing environment. Chittka likens it to shopping in a grocery store, where you are rushing up and down aisles comparing products for the best deals and keeping a mental account before you return to the product you ultimately decide to buy.