Bees and Flowers – They Communicate!

As if the info in yesterday's blog post about bees doing the waggle dance isn’t amazing enough, a study at the University of Bristol in the UK a few years ago shows that bees communicate with flowers and collect data. Many flowers are shaped like a satellite dish. Nature is smart.

Scientists believe the means of communication is via electrical fields, where the flower’s field activates electric static that magnetizes the bee's short hairs. It's somewhat like what used to happen in the old days when a human got too close to a television screen and a subtle but evident “pulling” on the hairs ensued.

Bees can tell if a flower has already been visited by other pollinators and therefore has low pollen and nectar levels. Somehow the bee knows how to decipher the electrical signals as weak or strong. They also seem able to differentiate between various flower fields, as easily as seeing colors.

Flowers intentionally change their shapes to entice pollinators, and they turn up their scents, brighten their colors and even shift the patterns of their petals. 

Below is a very short (2 minute) video of bees and flowers communicating:



Bees and flowers have developed a mutually beneficial relationship to help each other exist and thrive.

When you plant heirloom flower seeds, remember to aim for a diverse collection of flower petal shapes, patterns and colors to please the bees.

Do you have any new insights about how bees and flowers talk? If so, please share!