Bumblebees bite leaves to work around climate change

Bumblebees can prompt plants to pollinate early when they lack pollen. Credit: Dmitry Grigoriev

Bumblebees are taking a bite out of the negative impacts of climate change by prompting plants to pollinate sooner. According to new research published in the journal Science, bumblebees that don’t find enough pollen will bite the leaves of plants that are lacking flowers. This damage apparently has a sweeping effect, causing bitten plants to bloom as much as a month earlier than they normally would. This discovery is exciting, as plants and bees often depend on each other for survival. But as the timing of flower blooming may be changing due to climate change, bee researchers have often worried about possible mismatches that could be disastrous for both pollinators and plants. Some researchers believe the discovery about this behavior may help bee and plant resilience in the face of climate change.

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