Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Bumblebees Chew Leaves to Hasten Pollen Production

Bumblebee

Protasov AN/Shutterstock.com

When trying to establish colonies in early spring, bees rely on flower pollen as a protein source for raising their young. Consuelo De Moraes, a chemical ecologist and entomologist at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, in Switzerland, reported in Science that at least three species of bumblebees use their mouth parts to snip little confetti bits out of plant foliage, and that the biting gets more widespread when there’s a pollen shortage. Experiments show that mustard and tomato plants nibbled by Bombus terrestris bees bloomed earlier than unbitten plants by days or weeks. In a caged-bee test, bumblebees trapped with non-blooming plants were more likely to poke holes in foliage after three days without pollen than a bee group buzzing among plentiful flowers. When researchers switched the bees’ situations, those trapped without blooms started nibbling leaves, too. Professor of Biology Dave Goulson, at the University of Sussex, in England, says, “I can imagine that hungry bees unable to find flowers might try biting leaves in desperation.”
Upcoming Events Near You
Digital Issue
#SupportLocal
Healthy Ways To Spend Time At Home
Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
Like Us On Facebook!