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 …

Raiding the Rape Field

Honey bees can produce vast amounts of honey off canola, known as oilseed rape in Europe. It’s an early flow that can crystallize in the comb if the weather turns cool. Some beekeepers lately have become hesitant about placing their colonies near canola, worried that the pollen from treated fields is negatively impacting honey bee health. New research shows that …

‘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 …

University of California To Measure Economic Impact of Honey Industry

Industry can promote its economic contributions – but only if beekeepers, importers, packers and processors participate in study FREDERICK, Colo. (May 16, 2018) – From beekeepers and honey importers to packers and processors, the honey industry plays a unique and vital role in the U.S. economy.  To illustrate the industry’s true impact, the University of California is asking business owners …

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 …

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 …

A New Hope: Rare Bee Discovered in Alberta, Canada

The Macropis Cuckoo Bee is one of the rarest bees in North America, partly because of its specialized ecological associations. It is a nest parasite of oil-collecting bees of the genus Macropis which, in turn, are dependent on oil-producing flowers of the genus Lysimachia. In fact, the cuckoo bee - which much like its feather-bearing counterpart does not build a nest …