Bumblebees Bite Plants to Force Them to Flower (Seriously)

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Bumblebees are a resourceful bunch: when pollen is scarce and plants near the nest are not yet flowering, workers have developed a way to force them to bloom. Research published on Thursday in Science shows that the insects puncture the plants’ leaves, which causes them to flower, on average, 30 days earlier than they otherwise would. How the technique evolved and why the plants respond to bumblebee bites by blooming remain unclear. But researchers say the discovery of a new behavior in such a familiar creature is remarkable.

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