Bees and Flowers Have Electric Communication

By Dingyuan Hou
|  Friday, Feb 22, 2013  |  Updated 3:06 PM CDT
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Bees and Flowers Have Electric Communication

Bees and flowers have something electric in common.

Flowers are known to attract pollinators through petal colors, shapes and scent. But now scientists have found an invisible feature that flowers use to get more attraction: their unique electric fields.

Plants generally emit weak negative electric fields and bees are able to detect these electric signals, according to researchers at the University of Bristol in England. The research was published Thursday in the latest online edition of the journal Science Express.

The study found that bees’ flapping wings create a positive electrical charge of up to 200 volts as they fly through the air. They forge a special connection when encountering the charged flowers, scienti.

The electricity is not enough to produce sparks, but it makes flowers easier for the bees to remember. And the bees can keep track of different flowers by their electric fields.

"This novel communication channel reveals how flowers can potentially inform their pollinators about the honest status of their precious nectar and pollen reserves," study leader Professor Daniel Robert, from the University of Bristol, told the U.K Guardian.


 

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