Nectar of some blooms carries the drug, which improves bee memory
Bees apparently have their own version of Starbucks and may even get hooked on the joe: Honeybees are more likely to remember a flower that laces its nectar with a hit of caffeine, a new study shows.
“This is the first instance to show that something we use as a drug is also a drug ecologically,” says study leader Geraldine Wright, a specialist in the neuroscience of animal behavior at Newcastle University in England. Experiments probing the effects of caffeine on the bees’ brains suggest the drug strengthens brain reward circuitry, Wright and her colleagues report in the March 8 Science.
Many plants have bitter compounds in their le