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ScienceShot: Arctic Bees Still Need Beauty Sleep

28 June 2010 7:00 pm
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Even under the midnight sun, bees like their beauty sleep. Researchers have found that the Arctic's constant summer daylight won't keep bees a-buzz through the night, despite the fact that working the graveyard shift would maximize their nests' food supply and boost their chances for survival. Both native (B. pascuorum) and imported (B. terrestris) bumblebees in northern Finland, 270 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, stuck to a regular workday, foraging local flowers from morning until evening and retiring to their nests at "night" despite the sun's 24-hour brightness. The results, published today in the journal BMC Biology, suggest that, unlike reindeer and other Arctic creatures that lose their 24-hour biological rhythms in summer and winter, bees' internal clocks synch to cues other than light and darkness—perhaps variations in temperature or light quality—and that their nighttime rest confers an advantage even greater than extra food.

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