Bees learn the electric buzz of flowers

Bees learn the electric buzz of flowers

Floral electric fields could join color and fragrance as cues to pollinators

By Susan Milius, 13:57 PM February 21, 2013

Slight electric fields that form around flowers may lure pollinators much as floral colors and fragrances do.

In lab setups, bumblebees learned to distinguish fake flowers by their electrical fields, says sensory biologist Daniel Robert at the University of Bristol in England. Combining an electrical charge with a color helped the bees learn faster, Robert and his colleagues report online February 21 in Science.

Plants, a bit like lightning rods, tend to conduct electrical charges to the g...

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