London museum unveils nitrogen-absorbing sculpture for bees

Image of woman with sculpture.

(The Art Newspaper) The sculpture is able to absorb up to 15% of her own weight in nitrogen dioxide molecules. When it rains, the absorbed toxins are washed away as a harmless liquid, enabling the continuous ingestion of pollution from the surrounding air. Nitrogen dioxide can mask the scent of flowers, thus preventing bees from finding their food.

Nectar robbery by short-tongued bees is throwing off delicate pollination cycles

Close up image of plaster bee.

(Massive Science) Bees have evolved to become extremely successful pollinators, and generally have a mutually beneficial relationship with plants. But nectar-robbing is a behavior in which an insect lightly bites a small hole in the a flower’s tissues at the base of the petal to access nectar, without performing the act of pollination. It can have a profound impact on a plant’s ability to reproduce.

Scientists find clues to queen bee failure

Image of beekeeper holding up frame of honey bees.

(University of British Columbia) Scientists are unraveling the mysteries behind a persistent problem in commercial beekeeping that is one of the leading causes of colony mortality: queen bee failure. This occurs when the queen fails to produce enough fertilized eggs to maintain the hive. New research has identified specific proteins that are activated in queen bees under different stressful conditions (extreme heat, extreme cold, and pesticide exposure) that can affect the viability of the sperm stored in the honey bee queen’s body.

WSUV to replace lawn with wildflower meadow to promote pollinators

Image of students overlooking large field.

(The Columbian) People are few and far between on the Washington State University Vancouver campus these days, but a trio of graduate biology students intend to start filling the landscape with native wildflowers and the pollinators that love them. Their goal is to achieve the Bee Campus USA designation for WSUV’s 351-acre spread from the Xerces Society.

Air pollution renders flower odors unattractive to moths

Image of hawkmoth on flower.

(Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology) Researchers showed that tobacco hawkmoths lost attraction to the scent of their preferred flowers when that scent had been altered by ozone. This oxidizing pollutant thus disturbs the chemical communication between a plant and its pollinator. However, when given the chance, hawkmoths quickly learn that an unpleasantly polluted scent may lead to nutritious nectar.

Hawaii Attorney General joins lawsuit against pesticide that could harm bees

Image of honey bee boxes among palm trees.

(KHON2) The Hawaii Attorney General joined a multi-state coalition in an ongoing lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) improper use of the pesticide, sulfoxaflor. The Attorney General argued that due to its toxicity, sulfoxaflor poses risks to pollinators – like bees – that are essential to agriculture and the ecosystem.