Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Honeybees As Plant 'Bodyguards'

Date:
December 28, 2008
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination, according to a new study in Current Biology. The insects' buzz also defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.

Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination. The insects' buzz defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.
Credit: iStockphoto

Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination, according to a new study published in the December 23rd issue of Current Biology. The insects' buzz also defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.

Related Articles


The researchers, led by Jürgen Tautz of Biozentrum Universität Würzburg, Germany, earlier found that many caterpillars possess fine sensory hairs on the front portions of their bodies that enable them to detect air vibrations, such as the sound of an approaching predatory wasp or honeybee.

"These sensory hairs are not fine-tuned," Tautz said. "Therefore, caterpillars cannot distinguish between hunting wasps and harmless bees." If an "unidentified flying object" approaches, generating air vibrations in the proper range, caterpillars stop moving or drop from the plant. If caterpillars are constantly stressed by buzzing bees, as they likely are in fruiting trees heavily laden with blossoms, they will feed a lot less, he said.

In the study, the researchers found that bell pepper plants without fruit suffered 60 to almost 70 percent less damage to their leaves when confined in a tent with bees and caterpillars in comparison to those in a tent with caterpillars alone. The amount of leaf damage was less on fruit-bearing plants as the beet armyworm caterpillars moved into the maturing peppers, they report.

"Our findings indicate for the first time that visiting honeybees provide plants with a totally unexpected advantage," the researchers said. "They not only transport pollen from flower to flower, but in addition also reduce plant destruction by herbivores."

The findings highlight the importance of indirect effects between apparently unrelated members of food webs in nature, Tautz said. They might also have some practical application for sustainable agriculture.

If crops are combined with attractive flowers in such a way that honeybees from nearby beehives constantly buzz around them, it may lead to significantly higher yields in areas with lots of leaf-eating pests—a notion Tautz's team intends to test. "Our finding may be the start of a totally new biological control method," he said.

The researchers include Jürgen Tautz, of BEEgroup, Biozentrum Universität Würzburg, Germany; and Michael Rostás, of Botanic II, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Honeybees As Plant 'Bodyguards'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222143511.htm>.
Cell Press. (2008, December 28). Honeybees As Plant 'Bodyguards'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222143511.htm
Cell Press. "Honeybees As Plant 'Bodyguards'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222143511.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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