Honey Bees Struggle to Find Enough Good Bacteria

Modern monoculture farming, commercial forestry and even well-intentioned gardeners could be making it harder for honey bees to store food and fight off diseases, a new study suggests. Human changes to the landscape, such as large areas of monoculture grassland for livestock grazing, and coniferous forests for timber production, is affecting the diversity of the 'microbiome' associated with the long-term food …

Droughts Bring Fewer Flowers for Bees

Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows. Droughts are expected to become more common and more intense in many parts of the world, and researchers studied the impact on flowering plants using a field experiment. They found that drought roughly halved the overall number of flowers. …

The ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’ That’s Killing Honey Bees

The magnified photographs of the pinhead-sized mite, aptly named Varroa destructor, were captured by Dr. Jonathan Salvage of the University of Brighton (UK), using a state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope (SEM). Dr. Salvage, a Research Fellow in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, has been working with Adam Leitch, a Master Beekeeper, on both a study of plant pollen that …

Why Bees Soared and Slime Flopped as
Inspirations for Systems Engineering

Honey bees prove an inspiration to system engineers, helping them better route internet traffic Bees? Great. Ants? Hit or miss. Slime mold amoebas? Fail. Though nature offers excellent design inspirations in some information technology systems, in other systems, it can bomb. Known for his work on The Honey Bee Algorithm, which tamed web traffic instabilities on servers by mimicking the behavior of …

Introduced Honey Bees Could Cause Plant Extinction

Honey bees out-compete local pollinators, which play vital specialist role in plant pollination New research indicates that introduced 'alien' honey bees are competing for resources with native bees and threatening the survival of plants that rely on interactions with specific pollinators. The study, published in the journal Diversity and Distributions, was led by Dr. Olivia Norfolk of Anglia Ruskin University, who carried …

Sick Bees Eat Healthier

Good nutrition can help us ward off illness. But what happens when we’re already sick? In honey bees, sick bees appear to make smarter nutritional choices. A new study compared the feeding habits of healthy bees to those infected with the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. In the study, published recently in the journal Microbial Ecology, the researchers first gave groups of …