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Australian Bees Use Their Heads

Bees don't just take pollen: they physically make flowers release the pollen. The, Australian blue-banded bee, Amegilla murrayensis, and the North American eastern bumble bee, Bombus, impatiens, were compared.

Australian blue-banded bee Amegilla murrayensis
Slow motion filming enabled observation of bee behavior. North American bees grabbed the flower anther with their mandibles (hands) then tensed their wing muscles and began to "vibrate' the pollen free. This proces was carried out once per flower

Blue-banded bees did not use their mandibles at all. They used their heads, literally. They headbutted the flowers with their heads repeatedly at a very high frequency. The frequency was higher than the North American bee so the blue bee visited more flowers. However, the Australian bee came back several times to the same flower to give it another go.

Overall, the blue-banded bee is a more efficient pollinator. If used by growers it could potentially produce more fruit and vegetable.
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#headbutt #bumble #bee #australian #north #american #pollen #flower
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