Agreement reached to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Minnetonka’s Lone Lake Park

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on white flowers.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity and the city of Minnetonka have reached an agreement to protect the endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Lone Lake Park, the site of a planned multi-use mountain-bike trail. Under the agreement, the city will implement numerous conservation measures, including creation of habitat for the bees and other pollinators.

The psychologist and the bees

Image of beekeeper with frame of honey bees.

(UConn) Why would a psychologist study honey bees? “My research focuses on collective intelligence – how a group can work together successfully without guidance from a leader. Honeybees are a group that work together, they communicate. But the difference is that honeybees do it very well, and humans are not always as successful while working together in groups.”

Bees encase raw-material embroideries with honeycomb in new works of art

Image of honeycomb art.

(Colossal) When Ava Roth adds the last stitch grasping horsehair or porcupine quills to her embroidered artworks, she passes the fibrous material on to her black-and-yellow counterparts. The Toronto-based artist collaborates with bees to encase her mixed-media pieces in waxy honeycomb. What emerges are organic artworks that consider interspecies interactions and the beauty that such meetings can garner.

Scientists are ‘scent-training’ honey bees to boost pollination of certain crops by more than half

Image of honey bee boxes next to sunflower field.

(Daily Mail) Researchers in Argentina found that exposing bees to foods scented with synthetic sunflower odor altered their choices about which plants to visit later. Exposure to the scent of sunflowers created ‘bee memories’ that influenced the insects to seek out sunflowers and bring back more sunflower pollen to their hives. This increased visitation also boosted flower production by somewhere between 29 to 57 percent, depending on the sunflower hybrid grown.

Meet a bee with a very big brain

Image of shaggy bee on flower.

(New York Times) Just like mammals or birds, insect species of the same size may have different endowments inside their heads. Researchers have discovered some factors linked to brain size in back-boned animals. But in insects, the drivers of brain size have been more of a mystery. A new study has scrutinized hundreds of bee brains for patterns. Bees with specialized diets seem to have larger brains, while social behavior appears unrelated to brain size. This means when it comes to insects, the rules that have guided brain evolution in other animals may not apply.