Flowers Use Electric Fields to Literally Attract Bees


Image: Adam Cole/NPR

Bees and other insects locate flowers using color, scent, shapes and even ultraviolet patterns humans can’t detect. Now scientists have discovered something else that flowers use to make themselves noticeable: electric fields.

In the above photo from UPI, a flower is shown before and after electrically charged paint is applied. The paint adheres along the electric field of the blossom.

The flower has a negative charge. Bees gain a positive charge as they fly from the friction of the air and their body parts. These opposite charges causes the flower to literally attract the bee. Not only that, scientists have discovered that it’s not just the bees sensing the flowers, the flowers actually shift their electric fields if a bee is nearby.

For more buzz on the subject and details about the experiments, check out the NPR story.

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