Plants hear bees buzz

Here’s an interesting piece from the National Geographic on how plants respond to the vibration of buzzing bees to sweeten their nectar.

To test the primroses in the lab, Hadany’s team exposed plants to five sound treatments: silence, recordings of a honeybee from four inches away, and computer-generated sounds in low, intermediate, and high frequencies. Plants given the silent treatment—placed under vibration-blocking glass jars—had no significant increase in nectar sugar concentration. The same went for plants exposed to high-frequency (158 to 160 kilohertz) and intermediate-frequency (34 to 35 kilohertz) sounds.

But for plants exposed to playbacks of bee sounds (0.2 to 0.5 kilohertz) and similarly low-frequency sounds (0.05 to 1 kilohertz), the final analysis revealed an unmistakable response. Within three minutes of exposure to these recordings, sugar concentration in the plants increased from between 12 and 17 percent to 20 percent.

But then, thinking of plants “hearing” is maybe a case looking down the wrong end of the telescope. Isn’t it possibly how hearing evolved in animals?

Read the article, here.

 

Photo by Stefano Ghezzi on Unsplash

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