General Question

rojo's avatar

How do bees choose which flower to visit?

Asked by rojo (14606 points ) August 31st, 2012

I watched about two dozen bees around a flowering sage bush this afternoon and got to wondering how the decide which bloom to go to. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason. I would see several bees go into the same flower while there were some that did not seem to get any action. They would go in, back out buzz around and dive into another seemingly at random.
Do the blooms give off some kind of pheremone when they are ready for pollenation?
Is it a color thing? They all looked the same to me.
Do they watch each other on the sly and go for the most popular? I know they do some kind of dance at the hive to tell their cohorts where the pollen is.
Any ideas?

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6 Answers

rojo's avatar

@uberbatman Thanks for the link!

I did find this line interesting since I saw several bees that went into the same blosssom:
“When other bees detect the scent, they avoid this particular flower and land on another one.”
I am fairly certain it was not the same bee each time sequentially although one bee could have returned several times to the same flower after others had done likewise.

Sunny2's avatar

It’s been tested by scientists and it’s been shown that bees do recognize the variation of color. Perhaps there are other studies that demonstrate feeding patterns and how bees know when there is no pollen left for another bee. I’ll let you know if decide to do some research.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rojo I just watched a TED talk recently that explained the whole bees and pollunation thing pretty well. It was mainly about optical illusions with color. Im on my tablet so I cant post a link but it shouldnt be to hard to find.

glacial's avatar

Here are some of the differences between what we see in a flower and what a bee sees.

auntydeb's avatar

They really dig purple.

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