Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bumblebee Attractant Sought to Replace Declining Honeybees

Ore. Researcher Hopes Dye Attracts Bees to Fields
The Associated Press, 8/9/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University researchers hope that a fluorescent dye can attract more native bumblebees to farm fields to replace declining honeybees and boost the numbers of an insect essential to agriculture.

Bumblebees see in the ultraviolet spectrum, just beyond the light visible to humans.

Oregon State entomologist Sujaya Rao and other researchers learned recently that native bumblebees - which have nearly disappeared since the 1990s - are attracted to the blue fluorescent dye.

"Something about that blue is acting like a magnet," Rao said.

The discovery, made last summer, could help boost bumblebee numbers and enable local farmers to rely more on the native insects as pollinators…

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