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Bees Love The Buzz of Caffeine a Little Too Much

The plant gets the upper hand on the bee, through an action that's akin to drugging.

A while back, scientists proclaimed that honeybees are big fans of caffeine and their intake of it actually aids their plant identification and location recall skills. Now, research has emerged exposing the dark side of the bees’ love of caffeine.

Their obsession with the caffeinated nectar some plants produce results in them fixating on those sources and passing on the feeding opportunities present in others. In the end, those bees likely gather 15 percent less food than their non-addicted counterparts.

A large part of the problem occurs when nectar sources run dry. Bees motivated by the caffeine buzz will waste time hovering around their preferred drug-producing plants, even though there’s no food to be had. Others simply fly away and find a non-caffeinated flower to feed on. Hooked bees also spend more time dancing.

While it’s customary for bees to return to the hive and alert others to a particularly lush food source by wiggling their behinds, caffeinated bees do so more often. They head home and spread the word at 4 times the rate of others. The study’s leader noted, “… the plant gets the upper hand on the bee, through an action that's akin to drugging."

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