Give Now

A Moment of Science

Mmm…Hot Nectar

Find out the science behind what makes warm drinks so yummy and appealing.

a bumble bee drinking nectar from a dark purple flower

Photo: santacrewsgirl{the original} (flickr)

Eventually the bees learned to associate the color with the warmth, and began heading for the darker flowers first.

There’s nothing better than a warm cup of cocoa on a cold day.

A study out of the University of London shows that we’re not the only species that likes a hot drink. In fact, bumblebees prefer warm nectar to cool.

Researchers used artificial flowers whose temperature and color they could control. They made the darker blooms warmer and then waited to see which attracted the most bumblebees. Guess what?

The bees went warm. Eventually the bees learned to associate the color with the warmth, and began heading for the darker flowers first. Then the researchers switched the visual cue, making the lighter colored flowers the warm ones. After a little buzzing around, the bees went for the warmer flowers again. It seems bees are on the lookout for hot nectar.

Why?

Well, for the same reason you like a hot cup of cocoa on a cold day. You can warm yourself up by expending energy, or you can save that energy by letting the warm cocoa do the work for you. You are drinking it for the caloric energy, but the heat energy is an added bonus.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science