Nature & Environment
Scientists solve bee flight route mystery
By T.K. Randall
September 24, 2012 · 17 comments
Image Credit: sxc.hu
Far from following a random flight pattern bees have the ability to plan the most efficient route.
In an effort to better understand the flight patterns of the common bumblebee, scientists attached tiny antennae to the insects so they could track them as they flew from flower to flower. What the team found was that despite having a brain no bigger than a grass seed the bees were able to calculate the most efficient route to collect as much food as possible and return it to their nest.
The findings emphasize the incredible capabilities of the insects despite their tiny brain size. "Without the benefit of sat nav or GPS they can work out the quickest way to do their job," said study co-author Dr Nigel Raine.
The team from Queen Mary’s University and Royal Holloway University in London in London attached tiny antennae to tens of bees that pinged back the location of the insects as they foraged for pollen and nectar.
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