Flower forces that bait our bees
Have you ever felt the hairs on your arm stand on end when you brush past an old television screen? Or stuck a balloon to the wall after rubbing it on your jumper? If so you’ve experienced part of the world of static electricity, but you probably haven’t felt the electrical pull of a bee’s wings or the charged electric advertisement of a flower. These tiny electric fields are sensed by bees and used to make important decisions in their lives, like which flowers to visit and which to ignore, and can even help them communicate with each-other inside their hive.
In the top image you can see yellow electrically charged paint being sprayed on a Geranium flower to reveal the fine structure of their electric fields.
In the bottom images you can see a computer simulation of the electric field arising from the interaction between a bumblebee and a petunia flower.
Make sure you get to the Great British Bioscience Festival in London in November to find out more about how electricity helps bees pollinate flowers.
To find out more, visit: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/society/exhibitions/gb-bioscience-festival/electrostatic-interactions-flowers-bees.aspx
Top images copyright: Dominic Clarke/Daniel Robert/Heather Whitney
Bottom image copyright: Dominic Clarke/Julian Harris