Drink up! You’re addiction to coffee is not unnatural at all. The latest buzz is that scientists have discovered that bees flock to the blooms on a Coffea plant like humans trafficking coffee shops.
Bee brain specialist (huh?!), Geraldine Wright of Newcastle University says this is a come-hither maneuver on the part of the plant. A little pollinator seduction scheme. While it’s incredible that someone specializes in bee brains, this manipulative behavior by a plant boggles the mind. At least its not fatal attraction. On the contrary. The harder those bees work at pollination, the more coffee there will be for us humans to enjoy!
They say bees remember the buzz that the traces of caffeine in the nectar gives them which brings them back again and again. So is it the caffeine rush or the flavor that has so many going through withdrawal if their desired number of lattes drops in a day? Granted, straight black coffee is bitter and a pale comparison to delightful cappuccinos, lattes and other coffee drinks, but wouldn’t the nectar of the bloom be sweeter by far?
All flowers have some sugar in the nectar, or wild honey wouldn’t be so sweet. Some coffee flavor must be in the honey around coffee plantations, just as it orange blossom honey tastes different from clover honey, or any other honey gathered in locations adjacent to a variety of plants around the world. No disrespect to Ms. Wright, but unless she were a bee how can she know what that insect tastes when returning again and again for more caffeine laced nectar? That’s like dog food bags saying the flavor is improved. How would they know this? Who tastes it and describes the flavor as a dog experiences it?
An even bigger question would be… who would pay for someone to study a bee’s reaction to caffeine, and why is this important? They don’t have any clue how it relates to a human reaction to it beyond the fact that it gives the brain a jolt of excitement and activity. We don’t need science to tell us that coffee is something you just must have more of, though it is surprising that bees like it so much that they’re using it to teach them desired behavior.
Now that we know this, it might not be wise to walk around outdoors with an uncapped cup of joe. You might attract bugs its best to avoid.
More details: NY Times