Until recently, all scientists knew about honeybee antennae was that each was used for different purposes. Today researchers are confident that the insects use their right antennae to navigate through social situations, including being swatted at by humans.
Bees’ right antennae have many more sensilla (microscopic hairs that transmit information about smell to a bees’ brains), and it is the sense of smell that informs a bee if it is meeting a friend or an enemy.
Scientists clipped off bees’ right antennae and noted that they behaved differently when encountering strange bees, becoming quite aggressive.
Bees with their left antennae clipped didn’t get upset at all and seemed confused about what to do in the situation.
Honeybees demonstrated the same behavior patterns when an antenna was damaged. It’s possible that if a honeybee attacks you after you’ve swatted it, you may have injured its right antenna.
The asymmetry of the sensilla relates to the asymmetry of the human brain in which different sections sense different things, enabling humans to understand large, complex problems.
Source: examiner, July 9, 2013