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New Study Proves Bees Are Big Fans Of Caffeine

Bees and humans may share more in common than a love for sugary products. In fact, a new study has uncovered that bees actually prefer plants that come with an added jolt of caffeine. That’s right, bees are as addicted to the stuff as a certain faction of the population is, myself included.

A brand new study was released in the journal Science this week. The study took a look at plants containing caffeine in their nectar and found that bees were three times more likely to remember a plant and return to it if the nectar offered caffeine. This means the bees are more down with caffeine than they are with sucrose—and as they should be, a little caffeine for bees often offers the same buzz as a full cup of coffee for humans. Scientists discovered this trait in bees via an interesting experiment.

According to Ars Technica, scientists introduced bees to a chemical known as 1-hexanol and laced the compound with sucrose or sucrose and a bit of caffeine. They then kept track of whether the bees more easily remembered the caffeine-laced solutions or the simple sucrose laced solutions. If you’ve been reading this article, you obviously know the bees preferred the caffeine-laced solutions and would remember to return to those solutions as much as 72 hours later.

In nature, the flower nectar found in certain citrus plants is often laced with caffeine, but since really large doses can kill the insects, the plants are learning to only create so much caffeine to keep the little insects in line, thus pollinating the plant.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ StudioSmart

Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.