The buzz of the bees spoke about the effectiveness of their work
American entomologists learned how to differentiate bees by the sounds they make, and used these data to assess the effectiveness of pollination by different types of plants in different territories.
The study is published in Plos One.
Visual observations for insects, which pollinate agricultural and meadow plants, are not very effective, in addition, they take time and money of farmers. Researchers have compiled a catalogue of the different properties of bees — from the length of their languages and ending with the dimensions of the wings and body — and linked these properties with respect to their pollinator abilities, with voices of their “votes”. This catalog allows you to determine what is important from agricultural point of view, the physical characteristics of the bee, guided only by its buzz. The main studied subjects were the bumblebees Bombus balteatus and Bombus sylvicola.
After that, the scientists recorded the buzzing of bees in different fields of Colorado during two different seasons of flowering plants. First, using these records, they learned how to estimate the number of bees on each location, without using any additional observations. Second, using the catalog, they were able to find out what characteristics bees result in better pollination of native plants, particularly clovers (Trifolium dasyphyllum, and Trifolium parryi). The main factors affecting the efficiency of pollination was the body size and length of the tongue of bees that ranged in 30-52 percent.
In the future this technique will allow you to determine how much a certain location is the bees what kind of bees and how effectively they can pollinate local flowers. This will give the farmers an idea of whether you need to enter for this purpose, additional measures, for example, to use domestic bees. The cost of such analysis will be minimal, because the demands on the acoustic equipment is quite low. In addition, it is worth noting that in recent years the number of wild bees in nature has been steadily declining. Such mechanism of tracking their activity can be a convenient tool for ecologists and others interested in environmental trends the environment of people, the researchers note.