Flowers use electrical signal to advise Bees


Flowers use electrical signal to advise Bumble Bees of pollen levels

Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They, like their relatives the honeybees, gather nectar to add to the stores in the nest, and pollen to feed their young. 

Imagine a bumblebee doing the rounds of the local flowers looking to harvest nectar and pollen- it approaches a flower and finds that it has already been visited and there is nothing to harvest! Actually, this never happens as the flower gives off a signal that it is ‘empty’ which the bee recognises, making it continue its search to find a flower signalling ‘full’!

This is another example of God given co-operation between plant and creature, and scientists are now pretty sure as to how this works as the bees are able to detect weak electrical signals that flowers give off.

Plants are known to emit weak negatively charged electric fields, and bees pick up a positive charge as they fly through the air.

The flowers static electrical field is the same thing as when you charge up a balloon on your head”. “There is a static electrical charge that pulls on the hair on your head and the static electric charge on a flower’s petals pulls on the hairs of the bumblebee. As a charged bee approaches a flower, the difference in electrical potential is not enough to produce sparks, but can be felt by the insect. The charge is stronger if the flower is loaded with pollen and the stronger the charge, the more the bees hairs bristle which tells the bumblebee whether there is pollen there or that another bee has already visited the flower. This information system benefits both bee and flower, the flower doesn’t need a visit as it has already been pollenated by the previous bee and the bee does not have a fruitless, time wasting visit to a flower which is empty of pollen.

This has been studied by a Team from the University of Bristol. Study leader, Professor Daniel Robert, writing in the Journal ‘Science’ stated: "This novel communication channel reveals how flowers can potentially inform their pollinators about the honest status of their precious nectar and pollen reserves." And calls it a remarkably sophisticated communication system.

Another example of the intricate interaction between different types of God’s Creation.  

Its wishful thinking to believe that this interaction has evolved over the millennia, and that the bee eventually ‘learned’ why its hairs sometimes bristled when it approached a flower and then somehow managed to pass this learned information on to future generations of bees. This is a mechanical response which the bee was able to interpret from the day it was first Created.

Genesis 1:24-25

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.