According to The Guardian, a new study funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Biobest, and Berry Gardens has found that giving bumblebees a dose of caffeine has the same effect a cup of coffee might have on humans. 

Climate change has made pollinators like bees, moths, birds, beetles, wasps, and butterflies relocate due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides. “Managed pollinators” like commercial bumblebee colonies have turned into an important part of fruit growers’ crops. However, while a nest of bumblebees sounds adorable, they aren’t always very helpful. Some bees get distracted by flowers or refuse to leave the nest, resulting in half-pollinated crops. 

Researchers from the study wanted to evaluate if bees “could be primed to target specific odors,” like odors from certain crops. They mixed caffeine, sugar, and the “target flower” smell, like that of strawberry flowers, and spread the scented blend throughout the nest. 

When bees in the laboratory were let loose around robotic flowers covered in different odors (one being the target odor), researchers found an increased interest in the flower coated in the target scent. This experiment did not disrupt the lifespan of the bees. 

This study is a step in the direction to ensure fully pollinated crops. However, large field-scale trials would need to be conducted successfully before the method is used “in the real world.”

Sign this petition and ask the United States to get serious about protecting the bees and start creating bee stops!

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