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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Busy bees benefit from a break


Ralf Stelzer and Lars Chittka have found that bees may look like they are over-worked but will still return to their hives for a rest, even during period of constant sunshine. The research was conducted in northern Finland, where it is sunny at midnight, on local bees and bees from other areas. Ralf said: “Constant daylight would seem to provide a unique opportunity for bumblebee foragers to maximise intake, and therefore colony growth, by remaining active during the entire 24-hour period. However, we found that bees do not naturally take advantage of this opportunity, suggesting that there is some benefit to an 'overnight' break.”

This study, published in BMC Biology, is featured widely in the media, including: CBC News, East London Advertiser, Irish Times, Radio 1 Mooney Show, Science,, Queen Mary News.



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