This Vibrating Bumblebee Unlocks a Flower’s Hidden Treasure | Deep Look

This buzzing is a secret password. The key to a lock. What this bumblebee is after is pollen. Bumblebees
eat pollen. It’s high in protein. But the flower doesn’t want to give it to
just anyone. So it hides it away, in those bright yellow
anthers… For a flower, that’s unusual. Most flowers keep their pollen on the outside
of the anther. Which is the male part of the flower.
Pollen is basically sperm, for plants. Most flowers make sugary nectar, too. They use it as bait to attract bees and other pollinators, which get coated in pollen along the way. And since bees are messy, they inadvertently
scatter some of that pollen onto the female part of the next flower they visit. That’s how most flowers have sex. But this type of flower doesn’t offer nectar. The only way to get to its pollen is through
those tiny pores at the ends. But the bumblebee knows just what to do. It wraps its legs around the flower and bites
down on the anthers — that male part of the flower. See those wings shaking? Normally, the bumblebee uses these powerful
muscles to flap its wings. That’s what makes the buzzing sound when
they fly. But here those muscles to vibrate its whole
body. So hard and fast that it makes a louder, higher
pitched buzz. This vibration shakes up the pollen trapped
inside the anthers, until… It spews out, all over the bumblebee. It’s called buzz pollination — and you
don’t need to a bumblebee to do it. A tuning fork will do. The bumblebee grooms the pollen down into
sticky sacs on its legs… carries it back to the hive. Only a few types of pollinators like bumblebees
are capable of buzz pollination. Honeybees can’t do it. This field is kind of a free for all. Think: Las Vegas buffet. Tons of food, but long lines, lots of competition. Buzz pollination.. is more like a private club. By only permitting pollinators that know the secret knock, the flower ups the chances that its pollen will end up on flowers from the same club
— the same species. The bumblebee? Well sure it has to work a
little harder… and there’s no sweet nectar. But it’s a reliable pollen stash that almost
no one else has access to. Tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, all of these
need buzz pollination to reproduce. Much of the food we eat… owes its existence
to that buzz. Our secret password here at Deep Look? I’ll be honest: It’s that Subscribe button. Clicking Subscribe releases a cloud of goodwill
and gratitude from all of us. And you’ll find out about each new episode
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