Foraging Ecology

Bees also like a sticky mess

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Science  07 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6346, pp. 44-45
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6346.44-d

Flowers produce all kinds of cues that attract bees and alert them to the presence of nectar, indicating that bees are highly attuned to flower signals. But contrary to expectations, bees do not solely rely on flower signals to look for nectar. Meiners et al. found that bees' ability to find resources is likely much more flexible than we have realized. After observing large numbers of bees visiting nonflowering chamise shrubs, they discovered that 42 bee species were collecting honeydew produced by scale insects found on the shrubs. Bees also swiftly located sugar daubed on shrub limbs. As for how they locate an unadvertised resource such as honeydew, the authors suggest that they may be using social cues from other foraging bees.

Am. Nat. 10.1086/692437 (2017).

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