Flowers are not just ambassadors of beauty. They are a constructive element of life itself. Together with the work bees carry out on a daily basis, they provide nourishment and oxygen and keep the wheel of life turning in perfect synchronization. Researchers discovered that they are more than beautiful heads. In fact, flowers create blue beacons to guide bees toward their nectar.
Flowers Attract Bees through Blue Beacons for a More Effective Pollination
Latest research indicates that flowers help bees perpetuate their species. Several common flowers present certain nanoscale patterns. When the angle is right, the light turns these ridges into something that scientists call ‘blue halo.’
These structures influence light particles to follow the blue to ultraviolet color spectrum. This is how they end up generating hues of blue that are unnoticeable to the human eye but extremely loud to bees.
A team of scientists at Harvard University tested this concept by manufacturing their own synthetic surfaces that could render the ‘blue halos.’ Afterward, they brought the resulting materials under the range of foraging bumblebees. It turns out that the busy insects are able to read such surfaces and interpret them as a sign that they are nearing flowers.
When researchers compared different types of flowers, they learned that each of them displayed their own patterns. The ridges and grooves varied in spacing, height, and width. However, bees were able to translate all these blue beacons as signs of nearby nectar.
Bees Can Easily Detect Blue and UV Light
The team published their findings in journal Nature. The lead author of the paper, Prof Beverley Glover, claimed that they first viewed such petal striations as disorders without a proper function. In the end, they were happy to discover that such patterns were hiding an effective line of communication between flowers and bees.
“The disorder we see in petal nanostructures appears to have been harnessed by evolution and ends up aiding floral communication with bees.”
Scientists believe that the evolution produced these nanopatterns by taking advantage of bees’ ability to see blue and UV light. This flower feature streamlines the pollination process by helping bees detect sources of nectar faster.
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