Bumblebees bite leaves to make plants flower early 

#GS3 #Ecology #Envirionment 

  • Bumblebees bite the leaves of plants to make them flower early, scientists in Switzerland have found. 
  • When bumblebees emerge from hibernation and there is a shortage of pollen, they use their proboscis and mandibles (mouth) to make distinct, semi-circular incisions on the leaves of plants. 
  • This makes plants flower earlier, the scientists found. They also noticed that bumblebees did not indulge in such behaviour when there was no shortage of pollen. 
  • The scientists tried to recreate the damage done to the leaves in the laboratory, they found they were not successful. 
  • Plants whose leaves were damaged by bumblebees flowered 30 days prior to undamaged plants and 25 days before the plants damaged in the lab, the scientists found. 
  • The study can help scientists globally to understand the resilience of bumblebees whose numbers have been declining in recent years due to climate change and pollution due to pesticides. 
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