Bees Can Actually Collect Pollen from This Artificial Flower

Assuming you completed elementary school, you’re probably familiar with how bees operate; they fly to a flower, and pick up pollen and…

Cameron Coward
2 years ago

Assuming you completed elementary school, you’re probably familiar with how bees operate; they fly to a flower, and pick up pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive. In the course of that job, the bees visit multiple flowers and spread the pollen as they do, which is key to the reproduction of flowering plants.

This Synthetic Pollenizer is a mechanical flower from which bees can extract pollen and nectar. The flowers themselves are artificial, but the bright color of the petals still attract bees. Nectar and pollen are extruded into the flower, so the bees have something to actually collect. There are even actuated buds, which give the bees a familiar structure to gather pollen from.

While the Synthetic Pollenizer appears to have been created as an art project, it did yield scientific results. Michael Candy built it with help from the Resource Ecology Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and it’s been used for experiments on how the bees interact with artificial flowers. If you want to see it in action, there is a Raspberry Pi-controlled live feed.

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