Flying honeybees seriously struggle if the surface below is mirror-smooth as they regulate their altitude by observing the ground, a scientific examination has confirmed.
Bio-robotics and animal behaviour expert Julien R. Serres and his team covered all sides of their 220-centimetre-long (87 inches) tunnel with mirrors.
They found that, when all the mirrors were covered, the insects covered the distance without any difficulties. When the mirror on the ceiling was revealed, the bees did not struggle either.
However, when the researchers turned the floor into a mirror to make the, the pollinators got into trouble.
As the Science Alert magazine reports, the bees began to fly normally but lost in altitude after around 40 centimetres (15 inches) of flight. They eventually collided with the glass-surfaced ground.
The researchers also found that the bees would start losing altitude after flying for just eight centimetres (three inches) before hitting the ground when the ceiling and the floor were mirrors.
According to Science Alert, the findings are similar to the spatial disorientation. The term describes the inability of a person to determine his true body position, motion and altitude relative to the surroundings or the earth.
Since insects do not have the sophisticated technical support systems aviators can rely on, their steady flight is affected by mirrors.
Bees can fly as far as 12 kilometres (7.5 miles). However, they usually focus on food sources within a radius of three kilometres (1.9 miles), according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in the Canadian province of British Columbia.