Most of us have heard at least the first few bars of Mozart’s very famous Piano Sonata in C-Major. But before you go away thinking this is going to be boring, Wait!  There’s more!

Did you know?… that when a honey bee visits a flowering manzanita bush for nectar, she buzzes in the key of C-Major?  The manzanita flowers respond to the specific soundwave frequency of Middle C by suddenly releasing their pollen dust in a sudden burst all over our little pollinator friend, the bee, who is happily slurping up some manzanita nectar from the flower.

The bees then carry the pollen to a different manzanita bush and drop some of their dusty pollen coating from the first flower onto the new flower, while at the same time getting a new dusting of pollen from the new flower as they are slurping its nectar. The new flower has also responded to the Middle-C buzz sound and released its pollen.…and on to the next manzanita flower, and the next.   

Now how cool is that??? WE get to hear the bees’ sonata in Middle-C, the bees get the nectar, and the flowers get pollinated so they can make seeds for the next generation of manzanita bushes and wildlife. Everyone wins!

But don’t take our word for it. Here is a fun and easy scientific experiment you can do yourself:

  1. Hike somewhere you can find a flowering manzanita bush on a balmy spring day. You’ll recognize them by their pale green or bright green roundish leaves and their delicate pink or white bell-shaped flowers. This is easy in the Applegate Valley as there are several species of manzanita that are very common and they bloom in mid-March through early April.
  2. Listen carefully to the buzzing of the bees that are buzzing around the bush. Try to hum the main note that you hear.
  3. With your phone (if you have a connection where you are), do a google search for the sound of Middle C and play that sound and compare the two sounds.
  4. WOW!  It really IS Middle C that the bees are buzzing!

NOTE: If you are somewhere you don’t have a cellular connection, you can record the sound by making a close up video of the bees on the flowers — but not too close, we don’t want to interrupt the important work of pollinating that the bees are doing!

Then, when you get back to a place where you have a signal, (or a piano!) search on google for Middle-C and compare the sound to the one in your video sound recording.  Voila!!  Middle C!


  1. Another reason to appreciate bees and Manzanitas! I have been enjoying the pink blossoms this week and looking forward to the fruit to come 🙂

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