Caffeine helps create sweet memories

caffeine being gifted by a flowerFor bees.

And what is good for bee brains, is likely to apply to human brains too.

Up until now – the fuss about caffeine has centred around caffeine’s ability to improve productivity.

But that cup of coffee, is not just getting those muscles buzzing, it also creates memories.

Sweet memories.

Selling sweet

Now all flowers sell SUGAR. And bees, just like most humans, love SUGAR.

In a world of few bees (bee populations are in trouble) and abundant flowers, attracting bee clients is an imperative, because popularity translates to profitability.

Since more bee visits means….

So how does a flower stand out from the crowd ?

Attracting the BEE jet set

Well some flowers go BIG and BOLD, offering beautiful shop windows, others pump delicate perfumes into the air. But, the high tech smart flowers, such as coffee and citrus flowers, give their clients a little pharmacological gift.

A dash of caffeine, gives them a buzzy feeling, the buzzy feeling jolts bee brain neurons, ensuring that the bee remembers the flowers face.

And remembering exactly where the “honey pot” is most important.

For both the flower and the bee.

The caffeine WOW FACTOR

Researchers from Newcastle University believe the caffeine laced nectar is buzzing the long term memory of the bees.

In experiments, the researchers discovered a little caffeine was able to help the bee remember the wonders of the flower for days. The caffeine seemed to work, by buzzing up the responses of the mushroom body neurons, which are known to be involved in olfactory learning.

Caffeine gifts not just for the bees

Flowers are not the only ones using caffeine as a marketing ploy.

Yes, starbucks and company sell the gift of caffeine directly. And they have to use some marketing wizardry, to get you to pay premium prices for their coffee. But the world NEEDS coffee.

But caffeine pops up in other products too, as an unexpected little extra.

Most notably – fizzy cold drinks.

Every wondered why Coke includes a dash of caffeine in their sweet nectar ?

Officially, it’s all about enhancing the FLAVOUR. But, it is probably more about BEE DAZZLING YOU. This is probably why you just can’t resist, even when you know you should.

Caffeine a gift to REMEMBER

So if you want to BUZZ around and remember more – try a smidgen of caffeine.

It works for bees !

NB. Just watch the size of your GIFT – too much can leave you buzzing ALL NIGHT, and in the long run, this is not a smart move.

Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator’s Memory of Reward. Science, 2013; 339 (6124): 1202 G. A. Wright, D. D. Baker, M. J. Palmer, D. Stabler, J. A. Mustard, E. F. Power, A. M. Borland, P. C. Stevenson.
 

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Further reading

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Bee warned bees only work the day shift in the land of the midnight sun Java Junkies. The truth about caffeine addiction How to win a medal for brain performance

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