Research Shows Bees Work More Efficiently on Caffeine

Research Shows Bees Work More Efficiently on Caffeine

( – There’s nothing like a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning to start the day. Sure, some people avoid the practice, but sales reports show Americans love their daily boost from caffeine. As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones!

British researcher Dr. Sarah Arnold Ph.D., recently found that bees appear to experience heightened motivation and efficiency when given caffeine. Scientists already knew the addictive properties of caffeine played a role in attracting bees to flowers treated with the chemical. However, Dr. Arnold wanted to demonstrate its benefits for bees.

Dr. Arnold and her research team at the University of Greenwich fed a group of 86 untrained bumblebees caffeine using a food source containing the essence of strawberries. The team then used experimental robotic flowers to determine caffeine’s impact on learned behaviors regarding food sources.

Lo and behold, the untrained bees made more initial visits to the robot flowers emitting the scent of strawberries than control insects trained to seek food sources using only their sense of smell.

As Dr. Arnold explained, this finding could yield massive benefits for farmers. For instance, strawberry producers could decrease the number of bumblebees who “stray toward neighboring wildflowers” instead of helping to pollinate strawberry plants as intended. Additionally, if bumblebees were trained to target strawberry patches, wild bumblebees wouldn’t have to share their wildflowers with their new neighbors.

“It’s a win-win” situation for everyone, Dr. Arnold concluded.

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