Conservation

Bumble bees create a buzz

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Science  14 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 160-161
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6347.160-g

Foraging bees create characteristic vibrations at frequencies of 120 to 400 Hz. Miller-Struttmann et al. set out to investigate whether the vibrations created by bumble bees can be used to estimate pollination success. They show that physical attributes such as body size and tongue length, which influence pollination success, are correlated with characteristic buzz frequencies. They then used buzz density—that is, the number of buzzes per hour—to estimate pollination services at the landscape scale. Acoustic signatures can thus serve as an inexpensive method to monitor bee populations and assist in their management.

PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal. pone.0179273 (2017).

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