In a photo provided by Heather Mattila, honeybees in Vietnam engage in a defensive behavior called fecal spotting, which appears to ward off predatory hornets. Photograph:( Heather Mattila © 2021 The New York Times Company )
Due to climate change, wild pollinator populations have been restrained, including bees, moths, wasps, butterflies, beetles and birds
A new study has found that caffeine helps bumblebees to pollinate more effectively.
Due to climate change, wild pollinator populations have been restrained, including bees, moths, wasps, butterflies, beetles and birds. As a result of this, some fruit growers have resorted to relying on “managed pollinators”.
The study was aimed to evaluate whether the bees could be primed to target specific odours.
For this, the researchers concocted a special blend of caffeine, sugar and the specific “target flower” smell.
Study author, Dr Sarah Arnold of the natural resources institute at the University of Greenwich was quoted by The Guardian saying, "We were interested in seeing whether the bees would go for all of the flowers equally since they were all equally rewarded, or whether they go for the flowers that smell like the ones that they been kind of trained on in the nest".
It was then concluded that the bees that had trained using the caffeine concoction were more interested in the target flowers with the strawberry odour than the distractor flowers.
As per Arnold, this experiment could be a good start to making it easier for farmers to ensure their crop is pollinated.