Bees and flowers have a mutualistic relationship where both species benefit, according to Sciencing. Flowers provide bees the nectar that it collects to feed their entire colonies, while bees provide flowers the means to pollinate and reproduce. Therefore, they need each other to survive.

However, bumblebees are waking up earlier in a year when flowers have not yet bloomed because of climate change though nature seems to find a way to solve this problem.

According to Gizmodo, research published in Science on Thursday said that bees are indeed smart and resilient beings. They have developed a way to make the plants to flower faster, wherein they nibble on the leaves of the plants that have not yet bloomed. This action results in punctures on the plants that lead them to flower 30 days sooner on average.

Wake Them by Biting Them

While conducting an unrelated experiment on bees, the team of Swiss researchers noticed that the bees were biting off the plants for no particular reason. They got curious about the bees' behavior and decided to conduct further research on the phenomenon using scientific literature but found little research had been done on the matter.

According to Mark Mescher, a professor at the University ETH Zürich, other scientists have also observed such behaviors, but no one had explored why the bees are behaving in such a manner or reported an effect on the production of flowers on the plants.

To understand more, they placed hungry bumblebees into mesh cages with unflowered tomato and mustard plants. Before long, they noticed that the bees are using their mandibles to pierce the plants. They decided to replicate what the bees are doing using razor blades to puncture the leaves of the plants.

The results of the experiment showed that the punctures caused by the scientists plants bloomed more quickly, but not as quick as the damaged plants that the bees made. Bees were able to make the plants produce flowers weeks earlier than the scientists.

This suggests that the bees' saliva contains chemicals that help the plants flower or that the manual imitation done by the scientists was not accurate enough, says Consuelo De Moraes, the study co-author and a professor from the University ETH Zürich.

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Confirming the Results

To test whether the results of their first experiment is also happening in the wild where plants are more spread apart and scarce, the researchers conducted a second experiment which involves outdoor bumblebee colonies.

Like their experiment inside the laboratory, the outdoor bees have exhibited the same behavior, especially when there are only a few flowers around them that in bloom. To test it further, they used two species of wild bumblebees and found that they are doing it too.

This experiment suggests that the bees have developed their behavior to adapt to conditions when the pollen is not around. As far as the food chain goes, the bees' behavior does not benefit only them but also humans, as about one-third of the food humans eat every day relies on the bees for pollination.

Read More: Watch How These Japanese Honeybees 'Cook' a Deadly Asian Hornet to Death