Hot Cities Spell Bad News for Bees

Bumble bees, like this one, are among the bee species most vulnerable to increases in temperature. Photo: Elsa Youngsteadt. Click to enlarge. A new study from North Carolina State University finds that common wild bee species decline as urban temperatures increase. “We looked at 15 of the most common bee species in southeastern cities and – through fieldwork and labwork – found that …

Simulated Honey Bees Can Use Simple Brain Circuits for Complex Learning

Bees lacking insect equivalent of the cerebral cortex may still be able to learn odors     Honey bees may not need key brain structures known as mushroom bodies in order to learn complex associations between odors and rewards, according to new research published in PLOS Computational Biology. The new findings surprised the research team because mushroom bodies are thought to be essential for …

National Monitoring Plan for Native Bees

National Monitoring Plan for Native Bees - The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has scheduled a public listening session for June 28, 2017 in Washington, DC to "... discuss a strategy to monitor native bees in the United States ..." - Specifically, the session is intended to address the following: "... Why is a national monitoring plan …

Birds, Bees and Other Critters Have Scruples,
and For Good Reason

Psychologists find examples of conscientiousness, such as working hard, paying attention to detail and striving to do the right thing, throughout the animal kingdom University of California - Berkeley   Humans are not the only species to show a strong work ethic and scruples. UC Berkeley researchers have found evidence of conscientiousness in insects, reptiles, birds, fish and other critters. In reviewing nearly …

Stingless Bees Have Specialized Guards to Defend
Their Colonies, Study Reveals

The emergence of colonies with individuals more robust and larger than other workers coincided with the appearance of "robber bees" Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo   Like ants and termites, several species of stingless bees have specialized guards or soldiers to defend their colonies from attacks by natural enemies. The differentiation of these guardian bees, which are more robust, …

Nicotine Enhances Bees’ Activity

Queen Mary University of London Nicotine-laced nectar can speed up a bumblebee's ability to learn flower colours, according to scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The researchers used artificial flowers in a tightly-monitored flight arena in the laboratory to mimic how flowering plants use animals as pollen carriers and reward pollinators with sugars found in floral nectar. The team sought …

Birds vs. Bees: Study Helps Explain How Flowers Evolved to Get Pollinators to Specialize

Work by Robert J. Gegear at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) shows that flowers that were thought to have evolved to lure hummingbirds, actually have combinations of traits that discourage wasteful visits by bumblebees. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, Mass. - Ecologists who study flowering plants have long believed that flowers evolved with particular sets of characteristics--unique combinations of colors, shapes, and orientations, for …