Can bees distinguish smells inquiry What is adaptive advantage scent discrimination?
Hypotheses • Bees cannot recognize peppermint scent • Bees cannot recognize anise scent • Bees cannot recognize lemon scent
Protocol • Train bees to come to a dish of 25% sugar water scented with anise oil located in a box • Place box with scented syrup in a row of boxes containing empty dishes
Data collection • Use new boxes and clean dishes to be certain that scent left by visiting bees is not a factor • Count the bees that enter each box for 10 minutes • Have students repeat the experiment 3 for each scent they want to test
Reporting findings • Plot results for each trial as a bar chart comparing visits to scent laden boxes with visits to unscented boxes • Ask students what the results suggest about their hypothesis • Encourage students to speculate about why honey bees need scent recognition capabilities
Conclusions • Bees can recognize all three scents tested • This test will not quantify scent recognition ability, but bees sense of smell is much more sensitive than the human nose