An ant-made circular arrangement of flower petals placed around several dead bees went viral on Twitter recently.
Photos and videos were shared by poet Sophie Klahr on Twitter, who made a return to the social platform on mobile specifically to share the curious observation:
I have put Twitter back on my phone specifically to show you these circular arrangements of petals i found around multiple dead bees. if you are a scientist who knows what the hell is going on here, please tell me! pic.twitter.com/h3D8u89WxG— sophie klahr (@sophieklahr) August 28, 2022
Attracting over 250,000 likes since they were posted on Twitter on Sunday, online detectives are now buzzing with creative theories as to who or what is behind them.
A bee serial killer and a strange insect funeral ritual are just two of the off-beat suggestions, North Carolina poet Sophie Klahr has received since she asked her followers: “What the hell is going on here?”.
Ants live in complex colonies and communicate using a variety of pheromones. This can be for a walking trail, to warn other ants of danger, or simply to inform them that they have died and that everyone else should probably keep an eye out for dying as well.
It stands to reason that they would be sensitive to other animals’ chemical signals. It is unknown why these dead bees died, but their corpses are likely sending the ants a message, and it is possible that their floristry is a response to this, according to IFL Science.
August 28, 2022
Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Ms Klahr said she had been walking to the pool to take a swim when she noticed the flower arrangements on the ground.
Looking closer she noticed there was a large number of ants crawling among the petals.
“I assumed that it was a reaction from some other insect because it was so specific,” she said.
“Or I thought that maybe there was some sort of insect focus sociopath hanging around the pool.
“There were plenty of trees like that around, but they were all under one tree.”