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A major discovery has been made in regards to wildlife and the natural world. The university has discovered that when foraging for pollen, bees use multiple sensory cues. Instead of using one sense as previously thought, it is believed that bees use a variety of senses and even memories of past experiences when deciding where to hunt for pollen. Researchers have determined that an ‘overall sensory assessment’ is made by bees at particular flowers.

Technically the bees do not taste the pollen when they harvest it. Instead, they store it in ‘sacs’ on their legs or on the hairs of their body. This raises a question; how do bees judge whether the pollen they have chosen is nutritious enough for their young? This confusion is lessened slightly by this new research.

Dr Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, the coauthor of the research, has spoken about how there is a need for more research into the behaviour and neurobiology of the bees as to why they prefer some plants and pollens over others. The bee could indeed taste the pollen, or maybe is attracted by the odour or visual aesthetic of the pollen or flower. This could prove useful in farming certain crops to increase food security but also raise the bee populace which at present faces critical endangerment. Such cues connect into the studies of social bees who use special dances alongside chemical cues. So, with help from further funding the University – a major hub of bee and pollination research – will continue to produce world-class research and thrive.

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Most of my life is spent in the Exeposé office, with little breaks for cake baking, books and adventure!