Picky eaters: Bumble bees prefer plants with nutrient-rich pollen

Bumblebee on a common milkweed in the habitat

Bumblebee on a common milkweed in the Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat

This is an excerpt from on-line Science Daily June 27, 2016:

Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. The researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.

According to Anthony Vaudo, a graduate student in entomology who led the study, scientists previously believed that bees’ preferences for flowering plants were driven by floral traits, such as color, scent, morphology or nectar concentration.

“Here we show that bumble bees actually choose a plant for the nutritional quality of its pollen,” said Vaudo. “This is important because pollen is bees’ primary source of protein and lipids.”

Read more about this Penn State University study in the on-line Science Daily June 27, 2016

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

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About Soni Cochran

Mother, Wife, Grandma! I am an extension associate with the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. I work with urban pests and wildlife, youth programs and manage the office web site at http://lancaster.unl.edu. My degree is in education and I taught in rural public schools in Nebraska before coming to Nebraska Extension - UNL. I am Deputy Commander of the 155th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol in Lincoln - my focus is on public affairs, disaster relief and emergency services. Great organization of adults/teens serving this nation. Love my family, jobs, and sharing my love of nature and the outdoors with anyone who will listen.

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