Honey bees fill ‘saddlebags’ with pollen. Here’s how they keep them gripped tight | Science

Heidi and Hans-Juergen Koch/Minden Photos

Bees don’t simply transport pollen between vegetation, they additionally carry balls of it again to the hive for meals. These “pollen pellets,” which additionally embrace nectar and might account for 30% of a bee’s weight, dangle off their hind legs like overstuffed saddlebags (pictured). Now, researchers have investigated simply how securely bees carry their treasured cargo. The crew caught roughly 20 of the bugs returning to their hives and examined their legs and pollen pellets utilizing each high-resolution imaging and a method much like an x-ray. Lengthy hairs on the bees’ legs helped maintain the pollen pellets in place because the animals flew, the crew reported final week on the 70th Annual Assembly of the American Bodily Society Division of Fluid Dynamics in Denver. The researchers then tugged on a few of the pollen pellets utilizing elastic string. They discovered that the pellets, although seemingly precarious, have been firmly hooked up: The pressure essential to dislodge a pellet was about 20 instances greater than the pressure a bee sometimes experiences whereas flying. These findings might help scientists design synthetic pollinators sooner or later, the crew suggests.

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