Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bees and Flowers Communicate Using Electrical Fields

Activist Post

Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study, published today in Science Express by researchers from the University of Bristol. However, for any advert to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers.

Flowers often produce bright colours, patterns and enticing fragrances to attract their pollinators. Researchers at Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, led by Professor Daniel Robert, found that flowers also have their equivalent of a neon sign – patterns of electrical signals that can communicate information to the insect pollinator. These electrical signals can work in concert with the flower’s other attractive signals and enhance floral advertising power.

Plants are usually charged negatively and emit weak electric fields. On their side, bees acquire a positive charge as they fly through the air. No spark is produced as a charged bee approaches a charged flower, but a small electric force builds up that can potentially convey information.

By placing electrodes in the stems of petunias, the researchers showed that when a bee lands, the flower’s potential changes and remains so for several minutes. Could this be a way by which flowers tell bees another bee has recently been visiting? To their surprise, the researchers discovered that bumblebees can detect and distinguish between different floral electric fields.

Also, the researchers found that when bees were given a learning test, they were faster at learning the difference between two colours when electric signals were also available.

How then do bees detect electric fields? This is not yet known, although the researchers speculate that hairy bumblebees bristle up under the electrostatic force, just like one’s hair in front of an old television screen.

The discovery of such electric detection has opened up a whole new understanding of insect perception and flower communication.

Dr Heather Whitney, a co-author of the study said: "This novel communication channel reveals how flowers can potentially inform their pollinators about the honest status of their precious nectar and pollen reserves."

Professor Robert said: “The last thing a flower wants is to attract a bee and then fail to provide nectar: a lesson in honest advertising since bees are good learners and would soon lose interest in such an unrewarding flower.

"The co-evolution between flowers and bees has a long and beneficial history, so perhaps it's not entirely surprising that we are still discovering today how remarkably sophisticated their communication is."

The research was supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

'Detection and learning of floral electric fields by bumblebees' by Dominic Clarke, Heather Whitney, Gregory Sutton and Daniel Robert in Science Express

Press Release Source: Bristol University

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Anonymous said...

Einstein once said that if you want to kill off the human population kill off the bees. This appears to happening. Perhaps it is a result of chem trails or the electromagnetic radiation that we are being bombed with.

There isn't a single Starbucks in the state of Washington that has a supply of honey for their customers coffee or tea. Perhaps this is the fate of things to come.

Anonymous said...

Really sad this is allowed to continue. People, when they
are forced to wake up, will not be able to smell the flowers.

Anonymous said...

Could Cell Phones Be Killing the Honey Bee?

Anonymous said...

Little doubt in my mind that the 360 Mylar Dirigibles that circumnavigate the globe within the ionosphere providing digital signals for all things H D are a significant factor in the decline of bees ??? Is will they be able to adapt in time... or did Al Haig, Jr. & Company gut shoot the whole human race. Re: Sky Station 2000.

brad said...

Italy had CCD (colony collapse disorder) destroying it's bee population. It determined that Bayer corp neonicotine pesticides were causing at least much of the damage. They banned it, the bees came back.
Study i'd read is dated, but France found and did the same thing and bees were starting to come back.
In walnut growing, we have legal access to i think the meeting said NINE neonicotine poisons. Many are used.
Worst Ag system in the world. Planned.

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