Do Wandering Bees Help Spread Disease? Animals Biology 

Do Wandering Bees Help Spread Disease?

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Given the continued growth of the human population, it’s no surprise that our behaviors impact plants and animals. But what might be alarming are the ways we harm these species. Habitat loss and pesticide use have been shown to have devastating effects on pollinator populations worldwide, but researchers from the University of Toronto have found a new and unexpected way that humans are killing off bumblebees. And according to their study, the potential for bee deaths will only get worse as our demand for pollinated crops…

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Chemicals Used on Almond Trees Linked to Bee Deaths Animals Botany Environment 

Chemicals Used on Almond Trees Linked to Bee Deaths

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Americans have a serious obsession with almonds. In 2016, 1.2 million metric tons were grown worldwide, and 80% of that was grown in California alone. As our taste grows for the protein-packed nut, a looming crisis threatens not only the almond crop, but the global food industry as a whole. Over the last decade, honeybee populations, which are necessary for sustaining a healthy almond industry, have been steadily declining. The reasons for the decrease are not fully clear. What if our rabid consumption of this tasty…

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Urban Life of Bees: A Pollination-Parasite Trade-Off Animals Biology Botany Environment 

Urban Life of Bees: A Pollination-Parasite Trade-Off

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic   Few people would consider cities the ideal home for bees, but what if these dense population centers could provide the means for healthy cohabitation? Scientists from Europe recently examined how bumblebees visit and pollinate flowers across urban and agricultural regions and found that urban areas can have a surprisingly beneficial effect on pollination rates. The reasons behind these results not only provide insight into how cities could be designed to better care for bees but also signal yet another danger of farming monocultures. Urban sanctuary…

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Bee Friendly Garden Animals Botany Environment 

Tips for a Bee-Friendly Garden

By Steven Spence @TheStevenSpence More Diverse Than Honeybees When we hear about bees most of us think of honeybees (Apis mellifera) but there are many more bees around us. In fact, there are approximately 4000 native bee species in North America. Some of the most familiar types are bumblebees, mason bees, carpenter bees, and leaf cutter bees. These bee species also are important as pollinators. Fortunately, there are many ways we can help bees flourish whether we have farms, garden plots, backyards, or live in an urban environment with a…

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Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination Biology Botany 

Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination

By Marie Davey @biophilesblog Pollination. The word brings to mind the droning buzz of fat yellow and black bumblebees bouncing from blossom to blossom in flower-decked meadows. But up close and in person, pollination is often anything but idyllic. The physical forces involved in pollination can be impressive, and both plants and insects must be well adapted to withstand them. The flowers of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) generate impressive physical forces, acting as tiny pollen catapults. Bunchberry flower buds have petals that are fused to one another and completely enclose the…

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The Brainy Life of Bees Animals Biology 

The Brainy Life of Bees

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic The thought of worker bees buzzing about their colonies in service of the queen may not suggest a rich mental life at first. However, two experiments run by separate teams at Queen Mary University of London reveal a surprising potential for bumblebees to learn novel tasks as well as experience mental states similar to human optimism. The findings suggest that bees can transfer learned skills across generations—one of the primary requirements for primitive culture. I’m just pulling your string Crows, apes, and dolphins get plenty of…

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parasitic bees Animals 

Parasitic Bees: Natural-Born Robbers

By Steven Spence Photography by John Kimbler When we think of bees, most of us picture honeybees or possibly bumblebees. In fact, there are over 20,000 species of bees. Some are social, such as honeybees and bumblebees, while others are solitary. Bees typically build nests, collect pollen and nectar, and care for their offspring. Some bees, though, do not busy themselves with these things; instead, they move in as parasites, taking over other bees’ nests. Estimates based on surveys of North American bees indicate that as many as 15 percent…

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Bumblebees: A bumblebee covered in tiny body hairs. University of Bristol Biology 

Bumblebee Hairs Detect Floral Electric Fields

It is well known that bees dance to tell each other where to find the best flowers, but have you ever wondered how bees find the flowers in the first place? A new study suggests that each bumblebee has tiny hairs that vibrate in response to electrical signals transmitted by flowers. It’s been known for a while that flowers communicate with pollinators, such as bumblebees, by sending out electric signals. However, scientists have been wondering how the bees detect those floral messages. The Hair of the Bumblebee Researchers at the University…

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Research from North Carolina State University finds that bees in urban areas stick to a flower nectar diet, steering clear of processed sugars found in soda and other junk food. (Lauren Nichols) Animals Biology Environment 

No Junk Food for Urban Honeybees

By Kate Stone Urban bees have access to soft drinks, candy, and other sweet junk food, but bees don’t want our processed sugars. Instead, they stick to a diet of flower power. But are there enough flowers in cities to satisfy the bees? Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that urban bees stick to a flower nectar diet and don’t eat the processed sugars found in our sodas and junk food. “Urban habitats are growing, as is urban beekeeping, and we wanted to see if bee diets in…

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Winter Bee (Steven Spence); bees make honey Animals Videos 

How Do Bees Make Honey?

How bees make honey, courtesy of Dr. Joe Hanson and PBS Digital Studios Western honey bees, or European honey bees, are responsible for pollinating about three quarters of the crops we eat. But bees may be more famous for the ability to make sweet, sweet honey. Watch as Dr. Joe explains how bees make the honey we love. More about honey bees: Hungry Baby Bees More Resilient to Starvation as Adults Ten Fun Facts about Honeybees and Honey Winter Bees, First Visitors Declining Bee Populations Revisited Nature’s Medicine Cabinet for…

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