Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bees Like It Hot

Bees prefer to land on warm flowers and use colour to predict the floral temperature before landing, a new study has found. Although it has long been thought that bees choose certain flowers because of the amount of nectar or pollen they think they can get from them, researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, have found that the humble bumble bee seeks warmth as well as food. It is thought that they seek warmth as bees need to invest energy in maintaining their body temperature. Writing in the journal Nature, Professor Lars Chittka writes that bees pick flowers with warmer nectar and are able to learn to identify such warm flower species by learning these species' flower colours. In the study, the bees were offered a choice of four purple artificial flowers and four slightly cooler pink flowers in a random layout. The results found that 58 per cent of the bees chose the warmer, purple flowers. When the colours were switched and the pink blooms held the warmer nectar, 61.6 per cent of the bees preferred the pink flowers.


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