Research has shown that bees are able to detect differences in sugar concentration among flowers. So while buzzing around a garden full of flowers, they can zero in on the sweetest nectar, even when the sugar content differs by less than three percent. A 2019 study conducted by Tel Aviv University researchers scrutinized another aspect of that symbiotic relationship. The study seems to indicate that some flowers can “hear” the approach of a bee -- in the sense that it detects sound waves -- and can increase sugar content by as much as 20 percent within three minutes of sensing the bee’s hum.
Here's the latest buzz:
- Lilach Hadany and her research team studied the beach evening primrose, exposing the flowers to a variety of sound levels, ranging from silence to computer-generated sounds at various frequencies.
- They found that the flowers increased nectar sugar concentrations when exposed to the sound of honeybees (0.2 to 0.5 kilohertz) at a distance of four inches (10 cm), as well as other low-frequency sounds (0.05 to 1 kilohertz).
- The flowers had no response when exposed to silence, or to high and intermediate frequency sounds. The bowl-shaped primrose blooms also did not respond to vibrations when their petals were removed.