(Penn State) Pumpkin growers frequently rent managed honeybee colonies to pollinate their crops, but a recent study suggests wild bees may be able to do the job just as well and for free. Approximately 97 percent of the field observations consisted of three pollinators: bumble bees, honeybees, and squash bees. However, hand collections from the blossoms revealed 37 different bee species visiting the flowers. And the pollen transfer from just the wild species easily exceeded the pollination requirements for pumpkins.
(EurekAlert/Pensoft) Restoration work on a cathedral in Panama uncovered around 120 clusters of nearly two-centuries-old orchid bee nests built on the altarpiece. The bee species that constructed the nests was identified as the extremely secretive Eufriesea surinamensis.
(Cosmos) Eva Crane was one of the greatest writers on bees and beekeeping in the 20th century. See wrote and published hundreds of papers, articles and books. She helped create one of the world’s major databases on bee science. And her honey bee studies took her to more than 60 countries, “sometimes traveling by dugout canoe or dog sled to document the human use of bees from prehistoric times to the present”.
(Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) While honey bees might prefer strawberry fields over flowering oilseed rape, honey bees are less common in among strawberries when the oilseed rape is in full bloom. In contrast, solitary wild bees, like mining bees, are constantly present in the strawberry fields. “Wild bees are therefore of great importance for the pollination of crops… our results also show that wild bees in the landscape should be supported by appropriate management measures.”
(Phys.org) A trio of researchers are calling for an overhaul of the regulatory frameworks that define the ways that pesticides can be used. “Environmental risk assessment of pesticides does not account for many stressors that have intensified in recent years, such as climate change, habitat destruction, and increasing landscape homogeneity, the combination of which can aggravate effects of pesticides in nature.”
(The Repository) “You can’t just pull anyone off the street that says, ‘I want to be a bee inspector.’ … because they have to understand the biology of bees. They have to know the diseases that afflict them.”
(New York Times) When a bumble bee is choosing which flowers to gather nectar from, she might consider a plant’s distance, the shape of the petals and how sugar-rich the nectar is. The bumble bee likely considers another variable as well: How fast can she barf it back up?
Declines in the number of species occurred on nearly every continent, starting at various points in the last four decades but largely in the 1990s on most continents. One exception was Australia and nearby islands, where the number of bee species estimated from observations spiked in the 2000s before dropping back down in the 2010s. Globally, thousands of bee species have become so rare that they are difficult to find or have gone extinct.