If you want to hunt a dog down something, it helps them sniff an object to pick up the smell. Now, researchers reporting in Current biology On 17 September it has been found that odor training bees in the hive can work in a similar way – and this approach may make bees more efficient at pollinating the desired crop. The findings suggest that honeybees have given food flavored with odors that mimic sunflowers, supporting a significant increase in sunflower crop production.
“We show that a rewarding odor inside the colony is possible for honeybee conditions, and this experience subsequently modifies the odor-directed behaviors of bees,” says Walter Farina of Buenos Aires, Argentina. “The most surprising and relevant result is that the priorities leading to the target crop are so long and intense that it promotes a significant increase in crop yields.”
Farina’s team previously demonstrated that honeybeast can establish stable and long-term memory related to food scents within nests. They also knew that memories of those hives could affect bees’ choice of which plants to see later.
To enhance bees with a memory that would support later foraging on sunflowers, the researchers first developed a simple synthetic odorant mixture that linked bees to the natural flowering scent of sunflowers. Further, they fed hives with fragrant food. They found that early experiences and memories of sunflower odors influenced later preferences of bees, as hypothesized by decoding their waggles dance.
The training of bees inspired him to see more sunflowers. Those trained bees also brought more sunflower pollen back to the hive. It increased and the production of flower seeds increased by 29 to 57 percent by growing on sunflower.
“Through this process, it is possible to bias honeybee foraging activity and significantly increase yields,” Farina says. “In other words, pollination services can be improved in pollination-dependent crops by using simple mimic odors as part of an accurate pollination strategy.”
Researchers say they are studying other pollination-dependent crops including almonds, pears and apples. Ultimately, they aim to develop an array of new odor mimics to improve the pollination efficiency and productivity of several important agricultural crops.
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Current biology, Farina et cetera: “Learning a Mimic Odor within Beehives Improves Pollution Service Efficiency in a Commercial Crop” www.cell.com/current-biology/f… 0960-9822 (20) 31172-6, DOI: 10.1016 / j .cub.2020.08.018
Quotes: Scientific scent train ‘Honeybees’ to boost sunflower seed production (2020, 17 September) https://phys.org/news/2020-09-scientists-scent-honeybees-boost-sunflowers.html Retrieved from 18 September 2020.
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