I thought the following article was kind of neat. If you're

interested in attracting lots of honey bee's when you're gardening

(perhaps you have a hive or 2), you might find this helpful. ~liss

Bees Have Favorite Color

By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 19 June 2007 10:38 pm ET

There might actually be a useful purpose for having a favorite color—

at least if you're a bee.

The favorite color of the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris),

violet in its case, could help it find more sweet nectar, scientists

now find.

Researchers took bees that had never seen real flowers from nine

southern Germany bumblebee colonies and exposed them to violet or

blue artificial flowers in the lab. The investigators found these

bees—one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe—often

prefer violet to blue, seemingly innately.

The scientists then let bumblebees from the same colonies forage for

nectar from real flowers in their natural habitat. The violet flowers

where the bees dwell produced far more nectar than the next most

rewarding flower color, blue. So bee colonies that preferred violet

harvested more nectar, findings detailed in the June 20 issue of the

journal PLoS ONE.

"If you talk with friends, everyone has favorite colors, and now we

find these might actually be useful," said researcher Nigel Raine, a

University of London evolutionary ecologist.

Past research has shown animals often have favorite colors, smells

and other signals when it comes to choosing a mate, but little

research has been carried out concerning how such sensory preferences

affect searches for food. These new findings suggest the bumblebees

developed their favorite color over time to coincide with the most

nectar-rich flowers available. Indeed, violet or blue flowers are

often the most rewarding flower colors in many habitats.

The work could have implications for other species, "with inbuilt

sensory biases helping out inexperienced animals," Raine

suggested. "We might expect monkey species living in thick forest to

prefer reddish colors to help them to find ripe fruits against the

predominantly green background."

Article from LiveScience.com