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.

Related Articles


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 March 6, 2015 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 March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) 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