Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bumblebees Learn The Sweet Smell Of Foraging Success

Date:
October 27, 2008
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Bumblebees use flower scent to guide their nest-mates to good food sources, according to new research.

Bumblebees use flower scent to guide their nest-mates to good food sources.
Credit: iStockphoto/Oleg Prikhodko

Bumblebees use flower scent to guide their nest-mates to good food sources, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

For any animal, finding food on its own can be time consuming and inefficient; social animals such as bees reduce these problems by informing their peers of plentiful sites, and 'recruiting' them to the search.

Honeybees use their waggle-dance to tell nest-mates the distance and direction of a food source. But bumblebees can't communicate geographical information in this way; instead, they release a recruitment pheromone in the nest to encourage their colleagues to venture out in search of food. But where should they look?

Mathieu Molet, Lars Chittka and Nigel Raine from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences wanted to discover if this recruitment pheromone helped bees to learn which specific flowers were most rewarding at that time. They exposed bumblebee colonies to an anise scent mixed with recruitment pheromone and monitored their foraging patterns.

Bees learned that anise-scented flowers were the most rewarding. They learned this best when the flower smell was brought back to the nest by another 'demonstrator' bee, but they could also learn it when the anise odour entered the nest as either scented nectar or simply scent in the air.

Dr Raine explains: "Successful bees motivate their sisters to find food by running excitedly around the nest, buzzing and releasing pheromone. They bring home the scent of the flowers they visited which fills the air and flavours the honey. The other bees leave the nest and search for nectar-rich flowers with the same smell."

The presence of recruitment pheromone did not affect how well bees learned a new flower scent. However, the pheromone increases foraging activity in bumblebee colonies, which could increase the effectiveness of these bees pollinating important commercial crops such as tomatoes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Bumblebees Learn The Sweet Smell Of Foraging Success." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081024144101.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2008, October 27). Bumblebees Learn The Sweet Smell Of Foraging Success. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081024144101.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Bumblebees Learn The Sweet Smell Of Foraging Success." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081024144101.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins