Monday, January 22, 2024

The Electric Bee

I’m reading up on bees in expectation of adding two hives this Spring.  Bees are way more interesting than you might imagine.  


A case in point:  bees create and harness electricity and use it as a tool. 

When bees fly, the motion of their wings through the air causes them to become positively charged by static... a process called the triboeletric effectBecause the bees are airborne, this static charge accumulates until the bee lands on a flower.  As soon as a bee touches down on a flower, however, it becomes "grounded" and the negative charge of the flower’s pollen pulls to the bee like two magnets.

Once a bee lands upon a flower and the respective electric forces are discharged, the flower's energy field is reduced and it takes time to build back up.  A bee's sensors (antennae and microscopic hairs) are able to differentiate between weakly charged flowers and strongly charged ones, i.e., between flowers that have recently been visited by another bee and those that have not.

Electricity for efficiency — it’s a “bee thang”.


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