Monday 2 March 2020

Bees may struggle in winds caused by global warming, study finds

Experiment revealed increased wind speeds reduced the efficiency of their foraging

A hardworking honey bee might feel aggrieved to be tricked into a garden shed to feed from a fake flower. Worse, she is blasted by a cheap household fan. And then timed to see how many fake flowers she can visit in 90 seconds.

But the honey bees’ tormentors are trying to help them: their ordeal is a controlled experiment that reveals how high wind speeds significantly reduce the efficiency of their foraging.

The study by University of Sussex researchers raises fears that bees and other flying pollinators may struggle in the higher and more frequent winds caused by global heating.

The bees, which usually feed on wild flowers after leaving their hives in the campus gardens, were lured into the shed with sugar water feeders. Only one bee was allowed in at a time, and their visits to artificial flowers were videoed and timed under different fan speeds, which mimicked calm and windy days.

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