Innovators are full of questions.Nature has answers.


  • Strategy

Sensitivity to sweetness aids in food selection: honeybee


A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts nectar from an Aster flower using its probosci / John Severn / LicensePD - Public Domain

Honeybees select natural sugars and reject substitutes based on an extreme sensitivity to taste.

"Conversely, when presented with a wide selection of tastes, insects are sometimes far less responsive than we are. In one series of tests, in which 34 different sugars and similar substances were sampled, human volunteers stated that 30 of them tasted sweet. In sharp contrast, honeybees offered this selection responded to only nine of them -- all substances that occurred in their natural foodstuffs, such as nectar and honeydew. The bees were not fooled by artificial sweeteners such as saccharin. In high concentrations, these substances actively repelled the discriminating honeybees." (Shuker 2001:33)
About the inspiring organism
Med_759pxeuropean_honey_bee_extracts_nectar Apis

Learn more at
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Highly sensitive biosensors.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Biosensors

Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
Learn More at Google Scholar Google Scholar  

de Brito Sanchez G; Ortig√£o-Farias J; Gauthier M; Liu F; Giurfa M. 2007. Taste perception in honeybees: just a taste of honey?. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 1(2): 69-76.
Learn More at Google Scholar Google Scholar  


Login to Post a Comment.
over 6 years ago
Thanks to Duarte Miguel Prazeres for finding and contributing this photo.
1 to 1 of 1 Comments