About Matt Kelly

Matt is an independent science journalist, and the author and editor of The Bee Report.

Building a prairie and watching for bees

Image of researchers in field.

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Two years ago, professor Alexandra Harmon-Threatt built this outdoor laboratory by planting more than 80 prairie species, most of them flowering plants. Her mission is to attract wild ground-nesting bees. She is here to see which bees are showing up and how they’re doing. But that’s not all she’s after. “This is a large-scale experiment to see if we can manipulate the soil to benefit bees.”

Engineers brought together by Mars are now using technology to save Australia’s bees from devastating varroa mites

Image of inside detection device.

(ABC NEWS) Australia’s biosecurity regime is about to get a timely technological boost from an unlikely alliance. Some young tech-savvy aerospace engineers have joined forces with one of Australia’s largest dairy companies to create the Purple Hive Project, which is aimed at safeguarding Australia’s bee and honey industry from invasive and destructive pests like the varroa mite with cameras and artificial intelligence. Australia is the only inhabited continent still free of the varroa mite.

Entobarbie: Getting up close with insects and being awed by them

Image of Entobarbie in her lab with mason bee tube.

Are you following Entobarbie on the socials? If not, you’ll want to check her out. The accounts on Instagram and Twitter feature Barbie (yes, the classic doll) engaging with real, living insects both in a Barbie-sized lab and out in the real-sized world of flowers and grass. These entomological vignettes are presented through absolutely incredible photography and with the language of a scientist. Here is a Bee Report exclusive interview with the creator of this entomological influencer – who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. It includes photos that Entobarbie took just for this story. Enjoy!

One year anniversary for our paper on the bees of GSENM

Map showing bee species richness in the monument.

It was one year ago today that Joe Wilson, Olivia Carril and I published our paper that explores how shrinking and carving up the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument might impact the incredible bee communities that live there. The issues raised in the paper are what took us back to the monument this past summer to continue studying the bees and create our documentary film. Give it a read when you have the chance, it’s open access.

Will state policies predict national action to protect pollinators?

Map showing pollinator policies by state.

One thing I’ve enjoyed tracking and following this year is the seemingly increasing number of state-level initiatives to protect bee and insect populations. The Saving America’s Pollinators Act is a bill that’s been introduced several different times at the federal level but has, once again, stalled out in committee. The current national political conditions seem much more conducive to state and local actions when it comes to taking bees and other insects into consideration.