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 …

Pollinator Extinctions Alter Structure of Ecological Networks

Field experiments show how removing a pollinator species disrupts foraging patterns Emory Health Sciences The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show. Biology Letters published the research, which may have implications for the survival of …

Bee Antennae Offer Links Between the Evolution of Social Behavior and Communication

Princeton University As bees' social behavior evolved, their complex chemical communication systems evolved in concert, according to a study published online by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An international team of researchers, including those from Princeton University, reported that a certain species of bees, called halictid bees, have more sensorial machinery compared with related solitary species. The difference …

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 …

Genes Key to Africanized Honey Bee’s Success

Uppsala University In a new study, researchers from Uppsala University sequenced the genomes of Africanized bees that have invaded large parts of the world to find out what makes them so extraordinarily successful. One particular region in the genome caught the researchers' attention and the genes found there could be part of the explanation for the aggressive advances of these …

Nest entrance of the stingless bee, Geniotrigona thoracica, is from Malaysia

Social Bees Have Kept Their Gut Microbes for 80 Million Years

About 80 million years ago, a group of bees began exhibiting social behavior, which includes raising young together, sharing food resources and defending their colony. Today, their descendants--honey bees, stingless bees and bumble bees--carry stowaways from their ancient ancestors: five species of gut bacteria that have evolved along with the host bees. These bacteria, living in the guts of social bees, …