The nervous system organizes, sustains and coordinates the life of the honey bee. It is the map, roadway and traffic signals directing action. It regulates perception, behavior and allows the bee to act independently and as an interdependent responsive member of the colony.
Information gathered by a network of nerves distributed throughout body is collected in masses called ganglia (of which there are seven: two thoracic and five abdominal). These segmental ganglia regulate some semi-autonomous action, such as leg movement, and send and receive information. However, the main locus of control is the brain.
The honey bee’s brain is oval, about the size of a sesame seed, with a total volume of about 1 cubic millimeter into which just under a million neurons are packed. Made up of several lobes connected by nerve axons, the largest and most well studied is the descriptively named mushroom bodies, a center associated with learning and memory.