On May 13 Unknowncountry.com reported that bee colonies in the United States have been devastated, and now similar devastation is being reported from the United Kingdom. If colonies continue to collapse at this rate, many primary food sources are going to become scarce due to lack of pollination. Meanwhile, the purveyors of Neonicotinoid pesticides such as Monsanto and Bayer are creating ‘study groups’ that appear to be intended to find ways to save the bees without them having to accept bans of their pesticide. The US has no plans to ban the substances, but the EU is considering doing so.
A third of all honeybee colonies in the United States died last winter. This is a catastrophic rate of decline which, if it continues, will threaten the national food supply beginning within a few years. The rate of decline is roughly twice what the bee population can sustain. Last March, the California almond crop was threatened by a lack of bees for pollination. One third of all food consumed in the United States comes from plants that are pollinated by bees, and the failure of these food sources would lead to serious food shortages.
Flowers’ methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, but for any advertisement to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. Pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers.
Flowers often produce bright colors, patterns and enticing fragrances to attract their pollinators. Researchers found that flowers also have their equivalent of a neon sign–patterns of electrical signals that can communicate information to the insect pollinator. These electrical signals can work in concert with the flower’s other attractive signals and enhance floral advertising power.