Caffeine increases bee productivity

The alarm rings, you reluctantly roll out of bed.  Flat, listless, in a bit of a dwaal.  On automatic pilot you hit the switch to boil the water, add a very large spoon of instant coffee to your favourite mug.  Bleary eyed, you carefully sip the steaming cup of  coffee.  Slowly you come alive, within a few minutes the morning fog has cleared.  You body and brain are good to go courtesy of mother nature’s nootropic.  Caffeine the ultimate brain booster.Bees topping at a citrus flower

Turns out humans are not the only ones enjoying the brain boosting, mood lifting powers of the caffeine molecule.

Bees appear to also enjoy the benefits of a sip or two of caffeine

Scientists have found that flowers which produce low quantities of caffeine and nicotine in their nectar, are the first choice of bees, when they are out and about collecting nectar.

The citrus family, are one group of plants that exploit the bees enjoyment of this powerful stimulant. They lace their flowers with minute quantities of caffeine to “whoo” the  bees and ensure that their flowers are pollinated.

Dose is critical

Caffeine is produced by around 60 plants, but the purpose is not usually to stimulate insects, but rather to kill the little buggers.   Caffeine is a very effective pesticide.  Plants produce the stuff and then package it in special organelles to avoid accidently killing themselves.  The bugs come along and get “stimulated” to such an extent that they fry their wiring system.

So too much of a good thing could easily spell the end for the bee.

Too much for a human leads to you being a freaked out crazed zombie.

Are you being “whooed” by the coffee pot ?

Many people worry about the fact that they seem to be “whooed” by the coffee pot and agonize over their “caffeine addiction”.

Stop fretting, the experts, both psychologists and pharmacologists, agree caffeine is not addictive. You may feel like you “need” a cup of coffee to make it through the day and your body may not appreciate you failing to top it up with caffeine but this is not true addiction.

So next time you’re feeling a little flat – put the kettle on and pour yourself a strong cup of coffee.

Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator’s Memory of Reward. Science (2013) 339 (6124): 1202 G. A. Wright, D. D. Baker, M. J. Palmer, D. Stabler, J. A. Mustard, E. F. Power, A. M. Borland, P. C. Stevenson.
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Further reading

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Hi, this is your brain talking and I am an addict……… A coffee a day keeps diabetes away How to win a medal for brain performance

better body chemistry for coffee lovers

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