Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bees Prefer Shortest Distance Between Two Flowers

Date:
March 26, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Honeybees and bumble bees are predictable in the way they move among flowers, typically moving directly from one to another in the same row of plants. The bees' flight paths affect their ability to hunt for pollen and generate "gene flow," fertilization and seed production that results when pollen moves from one plant to another. The study of gene flow has increased due to the introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment.

Insects such as honeybees and bumble bees are predictable in the way they move among flowers, typically moving directly from one flower to an adjacent cluster of flowers in the same row of plants. The bees' flight paths have a direct affect on their ability to hunt for pollen and generate "gene flow", fertilization and seed production that results when pollen moves from one plant to another.

The study of gene flow has experienced more attention in part due to the recent introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment.

Scientists, plant breeders, and growers seek to understand flight patterns of honeybees, bumble bees, and other insect "pollinators" as a way to increase production and healthy produce. Although several studies have focused on pollen movement among cucurbits, the plant family that includes cucumbers, gourds, melons, or pumpkins, little research has looked at pollinator flight patterns and, until recently, none has determined pollen flow in watermelon plantings.

New research published in the February 2009 issue of HortScience by research scientists S. Alan Walters of Southern Illinois University and Jonathan R. Schultheis of North Carolina State University studied pollinator movements down and across rows in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.)] by tracking pollen flow. The direction of honeybees was tracked under field conditions during 2001 and 2002 at the Southern Illinois University Horticultural Research Center in Carbondale.

According to Walters, the study indicated that the evaluation of pollen flow showed a definite pattern of bee movement and gene migration in watermelon. "Although we detected pollinator movement that was strongly directional in both directions (east and west) down the row from the central block of donor plants, results also indicate that significant movement also occurred across rows in both directions (north and south) from the donor plot", he remarked.

Because watermelon vines grow in multiple directions, including across rows, bees can easily move across rows if the next closest flower is in that direction instead of down the row. Most pollen is deposited on the nearest neighboring flower from where pollen was collected.

Walters summarized the study stating, "Although significant amounts of linear pollinator movements occur down rows of watermelon plants, pollinator movements (in watermelon) are not as simple as just maintaining a linear direction straight down the row, but are related to the short flight distances that most likely occur to the closest neighboring flower from the one that was previously visited."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Walters, S. Alan, Schultheis, Jonathan R. Directionality of Pollinator Movements in Watermelon Plantings. HortScience, 2009 44: 49-52 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Bees Prefer Shortest Distance Between Two Flowers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090321103809.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, March 26). Bees Prefer Shortest Distance Between Two Flowers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090321103809.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Bees Prefer Shortest Distance Between Two Flowers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090321103809.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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