Flying dandelion seeds, swaying branches, rustling leaves, and the cool blowing wind. While we might see these kinds of scenery as peaceful and relaxing, it isn’t the case for bees.
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For a small creature with delicate wings, airborne seeds, shifting leaves and lurching flowers are basically projectiles, trap doors and Godzilla-tipped skyscrapers.
But despite the odds being stacked against them like this, how do these bees thrive in a hostile environment? It seems that they quickly analyze the environment before cutting through the wind and passing through the obstacles they see.
In a study published this month in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Dr. Burnett and colleagues addressed this gap — and found that when the going is tough, honeybees appear to high-tail it and hope for the best.
…the researchers found that the bees’ flight strategy changed depending on the conditions they faced. When confronted with moving rods in still air, they flew more slowly than when they encountered stationary obstacles.
But when the wind kicked up — in either direction — the honeybees would “actually speed up how fast they’re flying” by about 50 percent when the rods were moving compared with when they were still, he said.
When faced with complex airspace, the bees seemed to act “cautious in still air and courageous in wind,” he said.
More details about this over at The New York Times.
(Image Credit: Goumbik/ Pixabay)