Neonics: From Bees to Birds

Health impacts of neonicotinoids may go well beyond bees, according to a new University of Guelph study. Turns out that wild turkeys can end up with neonics in their livers, providing evidence that this common agrochemical is being ingested by free-ranging animals. The researchers from the Ontario Veterinary College are among the first to study the broader effects of neonics on …

Scientists Find Evidence of 27 New Viruses in Bees

We’ve all heard of Deformed Wing Virus and most of you can probably list another 3 or 4 honey bee viruses. But what other viruses still lurk undiscovered? An international team of researchers uncovered evidence of 27 previously unknown viruses in bees. The finding could help scientists design strategies to prevent the spread of viral pathogens among these important pollinators. "Populations …

Clever Bees Can Identify Different Flowers by Patterns of Scent

Certain aromas trigger memories in humans, transporting us back in time. But how well do bees understand scent? And can they translate scent cues into a visual imprint? New research led by scientists from the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London demonstrates that bumble bees have keen sniffers, letting them tell flowers apart by patterns of scent. Flowers …

Honey Bees Can Zero In On the Advanced Concept of Zero

Understanding the concept of zero is surprisingly difficult. The honey bee has joined the ranks of dolphins, parrots, primates and preschool children, in demonstrating the ability to distinguish zero on the numerical spectrum. This finding raises questions of how a species that differs so much from humans - with fewer than one million neurons in its brain, compared to a …

Nature’s Iridescent Beauty Confuses Bumble Bees

The iridescent shimmer of butterfly wings, the metallic green of a sweat bee, the color shifting carapace of a beetle: who hasn’t stopped to admire these beautiful works of nature, wondering how they produce such a dazzling and shifting array of color? Long thought to help attract mates, it turns out that the iridescence may actually function as camouflage, helping …

‘Virtual Safe Space’ to Help Bumble Bees

The many threats facing bumble bees can be tested using a "virtual safe space" created by scientists at the University of Exeter. Bumble-BEEHAVE provides a computer simulation of how colonies will develop and react to multiple factors including pesticides, parasites and habitat loss. The tool lets researchers, farmers, policymakers and other interested parties test different land management techniques to find out …

What Gives Bees their Sweet Tooth?

Scientists have discovered bees linger on a flower, emptying it of nectar, because they have sugar-sensing taste neurons which work together to prolong the pleasure of the sweetness. Newcastle University researchers report that the bees' taste neurons found on their proboscis - their mouthparts - fire intense signals for up to 10 seconds - much longer than the taste neurons found …

Urban Life Leaves Behind Traces in the Genome of Bumble Bees

Bumble bees living in the city have genes that differ from those of their relatives in the countryside. Although genetic differences are not major, they nevertheless may influence how well the insects adapt to their habitat. For example, urban bumble bees are probably better able to react to environmental challenges that come with city life, such as higher temperatures. These …