Picture this, a colony of caffeinated bees flying from plant to plant, high on caffeine and on a mission for more. It's like a plot from some weird B movie.
Here's the problem with this type of addiction behavior according to a new study;
The bees are ignoring plants NOT producing a natural caffeine nectar.
On top of that, the caffeinated nectar is potentially not as nutritious for the bees as the non-caffeinated nectar from other plants. Which can bring down the health of the entire colony.
Plants and animals have adaptations that help them do one thing and one thing alone, survive. Some of those adaptations don't always pan out and a species dies off, or their environment changes faster than the species can adapt and they die off.
In the case of these plants, they have adapted in a way that puts their caffeinated nectar on the top of the harvest list for bees, ensuring the spread of their pollen.
Adaption win for the plant, not so much for the bee.
What does that mean for the non-caffeinated nectar producing plants? The bees will simply skip them in pursuit of the buzz.
Basically these caffeine producing plants are like pushers, hooking their bee customers with a sample which guarantees more revisits to their addictive nectar. The bees will come back to the same plant again and again even if the nectar supply is gone.
Evil plant trickery.
But don't think these bees are simple victims of drug pushing plants.
According to an interview with James Nieh of the University of California in San Diego,
Although it may seem that the poor bees are being tempted or drugged by these plants, bees have their own tricks that the plants need to defend against.
Bees are in this life to survive and do their job. With only about 4-6 months to live, bees need to get stuff done quick and that means eating and providing for the colony. They do that any way they can including chewing on the base of plants that hide their delicious nectar.
DID YOU KNOW?
These pollinators are incredibly important for the entire ecosystem and most agro orchard businesses rent bee colonies to help pollinate the orchard which produces the fruit, like coffee, that we love so much.
The study concludes that;
The wider ecological significance of caffeinated nectar remains difficult to interpret.
Well, what we know is a caffeinated workforce is a productive workforce, amiright? So keep on eating that sweet caffeinated nectar bees.
They just need to learn a little self-control and spread the pollinating love a bit more.