Nicoletta Lanese

When their pollen supply runs short, bumblebees bore tiny half-moon-shaped holes in the leaves of flowering plants, causing blooms to appear weeks ahead of schedule. 

Bee-bitten plants bear flowers about two weeks to a month sooner than untouched plants, according to a new study, published today (May 21) in the journal Science. Researchers attempted to recreate these bee-bite patterns using metal forceps and a razor, but even then, the damage inflicted by bees boosted flower production more effectively than the scientists could; bee-bitten plants bloomed eight to 25 days before the artificially damaged ones did, depending on the plant species. 

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