Bees make fast(er) food

Published May 22, 2020

Why wait for flowers to bloom so you can get that sweet, sweet nectar? Bumblebees have a neat trick: They chew small holes in the leaves of plants, which causes them to bloom earlier.

At first, the researchers thought the insects might be feeding on fluid from the leaves, but the bees didn’t stay long enough to get much. Nor did they appear to be taking any part of the leaves back to their colonies.

Holy early-blooming plant, Batman!

Instead, it turns out that the hungrier the hive was, the more damage it was doing to nearby leaves. Those plants bloomed faster, but get this — it’s not just damaging the leaves that causes the plants to flower. There’s something in the bees’ saliva that seems to trigger it.

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