Scientists have discovered a new behaviour among bumblebees that tricks plants into flowering early.

Researchers found that when deprived of pollen, bumblebees will nibble on the leaves of flowerless plants.

The damage done seems to fool the plant into flowering, sometimes up to 30 days earlier than normal.

Writing in the journal Science, the scientists say they have struggled to replicate the bees’ trick in the laboratory.

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With their fuzzy appearance and distinctive drone, bumblebees are hard to miss in gardens all over the world.

Their dense, hairy bodies make them excellent pollinators for crops like tomatoes and blueberries.

They are among the first bees to emerge each year

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