Of course, honeybees pollinate plants, but how do they stay so clean when they are pollinating? Have you ever seen a bee that looked like it was anything less than completely clean? When it comes to bees, there are probably more important questions that we could be asking the experts; for example, “is the global bee population still declining?” That would be a real question, but as researchers learn more about bees, they are also learning tidbits of interesting information that is not too often shared with the public.
One recent experiment had researchers from Georgia Tech analyzing bees in order to ascertain how their bodies stay free of pollen during times when bees were pollinating plants. Apparently, the little bits of pollen fall out of the bees hair because the spacing of the bee’s follicles is spaced far enough apart to keep objects from getting stuck within their hairs.
A bee can carry loads that weigh up to thirty times its body weight. This is not because bees are super strong necessarily; rather it is the placement of their body hairs, which allow them to carry a lot of weight. Bee’s have up to three million hairs, and these hairs cover the bees’ eyes and the rest of its body. The hairs protect the bee from damage and enable them to carry heavy objects.
Researchers found out that the bee’s hair follicles was spaced far enough apart that a piece of dandelion pollen could easily fit between the follicles. Perhaps bees are designed to keep clean since their jobs are so grueling and dirty. Whatever the case may be, researchers are still trying to learn about what it is that makes bee’s such good pollinators. Soon there may be robotic pollination that will help ease some of the burden off of the bees.
What feature on a bee’s body do you think helps the most with pollination?