Scientists from Argentina managed to teach bees to pollinate exclusively sunflowers, proving that these insects are trainable. Researchers now expect to replicate this trick with other crops.
Image via: pixabay.com
To achieve this result, a group of biologists from Buenos Aires created a special fragrance that the bee colony associates with the smell of sunflower. At the same time, experts did not copy the smell of the plant completely, but isolated from it only those elements that are important for perception by insects. Subsequently, this flavor was added to the feed for the hives, with the result that most bees began to collect pollen and nectar exclusively on these plants, significantly increasing the yield of nearby fields.
In carrying out this experiment, the researchers relied on the work of their colleagues, who were able to find out that memories and previous experiences associated with smells influence the taste preferences of bees. Therefore, the result was not unexpected for scientists, although they themselves emphasize that they were very surprised by the fact how long the effect of the flavoring lasted.
“Through this procedure, it is possible to influence the food preferences of bees, thereby increasing the yield of individual crops. Simply put, pollination can be artificially improved with a simple flavor, ”argue the Argentine experts.