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Sweat Bees Use Humans as Giant Salt Licks

Old
and busted: Attracting bees with honey.
The new hotness: Attracting bees with your sweat.

Scientists have discovered a new species of sweat
bees
in (where else?) Brooklyn, New York:

These bees prefer sweaty people—over most animals—because
the human diet usually is so salty that their perspiration is saturated
with the essential nutrient, experts said. Yet most people never notice
when the tiny bees alight on a bare arm or leg.

As it turns out, Mr. Ascher and his colleagues are discovering
New York City is a hive of activity.

By latest count, about 250 species of native bees are known to
nest in sidewalk cracks, traffic median strips, parks, and high-rise
balcony flower pots—more perhaps than any other major city in
the world, several entomologists said. In Prospect Park alone, at least
90 species of native bees flit from flower to flower among the park’s
sun-dappled golden rod, dandelions and dogwood.

"For certain species, the city is as good as or better than
a natural area," Mr. Ascher said.

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Date
April 30th, 2012

Author
Stranger to the World

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