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Secret life of bees now a little less secret
Date:2/1/2011

us amounts of pollen to feed their young, pollen that could otherwise be used by the plants for pollination. The pollen of up to several hundred flowers is needed to rear one single larva, and bees are very efficient gatherers of pollen, often taking 70-90% of a flower's pollen in one visit. Because they store this pollen in special hairbrushes or in their gut, this means the pollen is not used to pollinate the flower.

Sedivy explains: "Bees and plants have conflicting interests when it comes to pollen. While most plants offer nectar to visiting insects as a bait for insects to transport the pollen from flower to flower, bees are very efficient pollen collectors. Therefore, plants have evolved a great variety of morphological adaptations to impede bees from depleting all their pollen. This study provides strong evidence that pollen chemistry might be at least as important as flower morphology to constrain pollen loss to bees."


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Contact: Claudio Sedivy
claudio.sedivy@ipw.agrl.ethz.ch
41-446-323-905
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

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