Power lines may mess with honey bees’ behavior and ability to learn

Image of person in field of flowers beneath power lines.

(Science News) In the lab, honey bees were more aggressive toward other bees after being exposed to electromagnetic fields at strengths similar to what they might experience at ground level under electricity transmission lines. Those exposed bees also were slower to learn to respond to a new threat than unexposed bees were.

New fossil pushes back physical evidence of insect pollination to 99 million years ago

Artist rendering of the newly-discovered beetle.

(Indiana University) The revelation is based upon a tumbling flower beetle with pollen on its legs discovered preserved in amber deep inside a mine in northern Myanmar. This discovery pushes back the earliest documented instance of insect pollination to a time when pterodactyls still roamed the skies – or about 50 million years earlier than previously thought.

New collection showcases cutting-edge techniques in insect morphology and systematics

Image of bee collection.

(EurekAlert/Entomological Society of America) While the field of morphology is centuries old, the last two decades have brought incredible leaps forward through the emergence of new technologies and genetic research methods. And the impact of these advances has been revolutionary for the scientists working to untangle the vast biodiversity and evolutionary paths of the world of insects.

Urbanization delays spring plant growth in warm regions

Image of flowering tree by lake in park.

(Florida Museum) The first appearance of bright green leaves heralds the start of spring, nudging insects, birds and other animals into a whirlwind of action. But a new study shows that urbanization shifts this seasonal cue in nuanced ways, with cities in cold climates triggering earlier spring plant growth and cities in warm climates delaying it. The study also found that the urban heat island effect is not the only culprit behind the shift, suggesting that other aspects of urbanization, such as pollution, changes in humidity and fertilizer runoff, may also influence plants’ seasonal patterns.

What are roadsides good for except signs? Helping butterflies and bees.

Image of black-eyed susans along side a road.

(Concord Monitor) New Hampshire has 5,000 miles of roads. Rights of way along all that mileage totals tens of thousands of acres, which isn’t used for much except road signs. But New Hampshire Fish and Game has received a $50,000 grant from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, boosted by $50,000 in matching state funds and grants, in hopes of using roadsides and center areas to grow plants that support butterflies, bees and other pollen-eating insects.