Australian Bees Are Heavy Metal Artists, They Bang Heads To Pollinate

Posted: Dec 16 2015, 10:07pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Australian Bees are Heavy Metal Artists, They Bang Heads to Pollinate
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Aussie bees bang their heads 350 times a second to shake pollen out of a flower.

Researchers have revealed a unique secret about Australian bees and it will put heavy metal artists to shame.

According to new research, Aussie bees employ a very hardcore approach for pollination. The native blue-banded bee head bangs flowers at a very high speed, knocking its head 350 times a second.

The violent shaking of its head causes vibrations similar to the motion of salt and pepper shaker and helps dislodge and disperse polling grains, a process necessary for the reproduction of flowers.

Most of the bees dislodge pollen in a very calm and conventional way. When the American bumblebee lands on flower to collect nectar, it uses its wing muscle to shake and roll the pollen out of the flower.

This is the first time researchers have observed and documented an alternate technique for pollination. They found that Australian bees not only head bang at a higher frequency then oversees bees, but also spend relatively less time per flower.

“We were absolutely surprised. We were so buried in the scene of it, we never thought about something like this. This is something totally new.” Dr Katja Hogendoorn, a bee specialist from University of Adelaide said.

The discovery has opened a new door to better understand the muscle stress generated as a result of such headbanging and to improve the efficiency of the pollination of crops. Since certain crops depend on bees or other insects for pollination, it will help in developing miniature flying robots. It will also contribute to saving a lot of time.

“This new finding suggests that blue-banded bees could also be very efficient pollinators – needing fewer bees per hectare.” Hogendoorn said.

Below low-motion video shows the Aussie bee’s high-speed headbanging.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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