Solitary bees born with functional internal clock – unlike honeybees

Image of red mason in sensing equipment.

(EurekAlert, Frontiers) A common trait of many social insects like honey bees is age-specific behavior: when they emerge from the pupa, workers typically specialize in around-the-clock tasks inside the darkness of the nest, starting with brood care. But they gradually shift towards more cyclic tasks away from center of the nest as they get older. Researchers how found evidence that this shift from around-the-clock to rhythmic tasks, which does not occur in solitary insects, seems to be driven by a slower maturation of the internal “circadian” clock of social honey bees compared to solitary bees. They also found that in solitary red mason bees, Osmia bicornis, females and males emerge with a mature, fully functional circadian clock.

Wildflower plantings on fruit farms provide pollen resources and increase nesting by stem nesting bees

Image of bee making nest in tubes.

(Twitter, Kelsey K. Graham, PhD @kelsey_k_graham) “New paper out showing benefits of wildflower plantings on fruit farms for stem-nesting #bees. Nesting almost exclusively at farms with plantings, though bees often used ‘volunteer’ species for pollen collection (not seeded species!).” The original paper.

Honey bees lose sleep after ingesting pesticides, leading to greater stress and lower hive survival rates

Image of honey bees.

(Vanderbilt University) There has long been a connection between neonicotinoid pesticides and their lethal effect on bees. New research shows that honey bees that ingest nonlethal levels of neonics are losing sleep. That disruption of their circadian rhythm causes the bees to lose their sense of time and navigation, leading to broader stress within highly social bee populations and lower hive survival rates.

First Australian night bees recorded foraging in darkness

Close-up image of Australian native bee.

(Phys.org, Flinders University) A new study has identified two species of Australian bee that have adapted their vision for night-time conditions. Both species have developed enlarged compound and simple eyes which allow more light to be gathered when compared to their daytime kin. “Before this study, the only way to show that a bee had adapted to low-light was by using difficult-to-obtain behavioral observations, but we have found that you should be able to figure this out by using high-quality images of a specific bee.”

US National Native Bee Monitoring Network website is up and running

Image of bumble bee on person's fingers.

(Twitter, usnativebees @usnativebees) “Please check out our new RCN website: usnativebees.com. We will be adding a member directory + other features soon”

(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “I was interviewed about bee monitoring for the first blog post of the new RCN website. Check it out for your daily dose of controversial bee opinions”