Bees forage with their guts

Bees forage with their guts

Researchers show that a gene helps honeybees choose between nectar and pollen

By Tina Hesman Saey, 16:56 PM April 1, 2010

When faced with a choice between carb loading and a protein-rich, Atkins-style diet, honeybees let their guts decide.

Insulin signals from fat cells in the bees’ abdomens help determine whether they forage for high-protein pollen or sugar-filled nectar, a new study shows. The study, published April 1 in PLoS Genetics, is the first to manipulate insulin signals in honeybees and to show how changes in the signals influence behavior.

Reducing the activity of the insulin receptor substrate, o...

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