Flower parts adapt at different rates to different pollinators

Image of Ecuadorian flower.

(Universität Wien) Although several studies have documented that pollinators can impose strong selection pressures on flowers, our understanding of how flowers diversify remains fragmentary. For example, does the entire flower adapt to a pollinator, or do only some flower parts evolve to fit a pollinator while other flower parts may remain unchanged?

Bee efficiency boosts diversified farming

Image of honey bee on pink flowers.

(Washington State University) The more diverse a farm’s plant population, the more beneficial it is for bee pollinators, and the more efficiently those pollinators work. “People want a silver bullet crop that they can plant that will bring in more pollinators, but that idea just wasn’t supported by our data. Having a variety, especially if they’re rare in a region, is the best way to increase pollinators… That means farmers can increase bee visits to their farm without adding more bees.”

Members of European Parliament call for reduction in pesticides to protect bees

Image of honey bees on frame.

(EU News) The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee for the European Union on Tuesday approved a resolution highlighting weaknesses in the EU Pollinator Initiative that render it inadequate to address the main causes of pollinators’ decline in Europe. The committee proposes that a reduction in the use of pesticides be set as a “common indicator” to evaluate how effective national measures are in protecting bees and other pollinators. To help further decrease pesticide residues in bee habitats, members of the European Parliament want the reduction of pesticide use to become a key part of the future Common Agricultural Policy.

Nectar is a sweet reward filled with toxic deterrents

Image of bumble bees on training flower.

(Bowdoin) Nectar, the sweet reward that entices bees to visit flowers, is a complex substance made up of several ingredients, including sucrose, fructose, amino acids, yeasts—and toxic compounds that normally deter insects from eating plants. One researcher is exploring this contradiction and what it might mean for the health of bees.

Neonicotinoids: despite EU moratorium, bees still at risk

Image of honey bees on comb.

(CNRS) Despite a 2013 moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids in the European Union, residues of these insecticides can still be detected in rape nectar from 48 percent of the plots studied, their concentrations varying greatly over the years. These findings indicate that persistent use of neonicotinoids with certain crops in open fields threatens bees and pollinators frequenting other, untreated crops; they confirm that residues remain and spread in the environment.