Volume 95 Issue 11 | p. 11 | Concentrates
Issue Date: March 13, 2017

Bumblebees leave foot odor behind on flowers

Chemical signatures enable the insects to remember their prior landings and distinguish the smell of their nest mates and unfamiliar bees
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Organic SCENE, Biological SCENE
Keywords: chemical communication, bumblebee, foot odor, chemical sensing

Not only do bumblebees have smelly feet, but the insects also leave an imprint of their foot odor on flowers they visit. In fact, the hydrocarbon chemical signature is so strong that it can be detected for about 24 hours after being deposited. A team of researchers led by Richard F. Pearce of the University of Bristol reports that bumblebees visiting flowers can also decipher whether the leftover foot funk is . . .

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