Bees are important for the survival of humans and plants, and it seems that over time, we just keep learning about how cool they are! Scientists recently found that bees chew holes in plant leaves, which forces them to flower early and provide bees with food.

Bumblebees chew these holes as a survival tool, scientists have guessed. Because of climate change, bees have had to adjust to variant hibernation, flowering and plant schedules. Climate change’s warmer temperatures cause bees to wake up early from hibernation, according to Swiss researchers.

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Scientists first discovered this practice while studying bees in greenhouses. The scientists wrote in their paper, “Initial behavioural observations with four plant species revealed that bumblebee workers use their proboscises and mandibles to cut distinctively shaped holes in plant leaves, with each damage event taking only a few seconds. However, we saw no clear evidence that bees were actively feeding on leaves or transporting leaf material back to the hive.”

This provides valuable evidence that bees might be adapting to climate change and could provide benefits for the long-term health of bees. “The demonstration that bee-inflicted leaf damage can have strong effects on time to flowering may have important ecological implications, including for the resilience of plant-pollinator interactions to increases in phenological asymmetry caused by anthropogenic environmental changes,” researchers shared in the paper.

Bee populations have been declining in recent years due to pollution, habitat loss and pesticides.Read more about bees in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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