(Washington Post) As meteorologists are all too aware, not everything that shows up on their radar is related to weather. Sometimes, it’s a mass migration of grasshoppers, millions of mayflies hatching at once or an angry horde of flying ants. While forecasters normally try to remove the bugs from their data, a group of meteorologists are now joining forces with insect researchers to study them.
(Entomology Today) Commercial traps and lures are essential for monitoring and controlling Japanese beetle populations, but they also attract and kill beneficial, non-targeted insects, including bees. Researchers set out to determine ways to design traps that do not attract and kill bees. Their results indicated that bee capture can be reduced by using a floral lure combination that does not contain geraniol.
(EurekAlert/Flinders University) As Australian researchers are finding colorful new bee species in Fiji, some of those species are already showing signs of exposure to environmental changes. This raises concerns about the extinction of many highland bee species in Fiji and across all of the tropics.
(Science) Could you survive a year in the life of a queen bee? A new tabletop board game challenges players to do just that, providing a surprisingly educational experience along the way. Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer was designed by beekeeper and librarian Matthew Shoemaker and pointedly avoids cartoonish depictions of the beloved pollinators. Its earnest attempt to portray realistic hive dynamics will delight players as they attempt to weather the challenges faced by honey bee colonies season after season.
(CBC) White-crowned sparrows that ate a tiny dose of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid — equivalent to a just a few coated seeds and far below the lethal dose — lost their appetite, quickly lost weight at a time when they should be fattening up and delayed their migration to their breeding ground by several days. That delay could potentially reduce their success at breeding at a time when bird populations are falling across North America.
(KQED) VIDEO Next time you eat ice cream, thank a bee. Without them, there would be no cones, milkshakes or sundaes. Every summer, alfalfa leafcutter bees pollinate alfalfa in an intricate process that gets them thwacked by the flowers when they release the pollen that allows the plants to make seeds. And these seeds are what make it possible to grow nutritious hay for dairy cows.
(Phys.org) Scientists have known for a long time that vertebrates handle positive and negative events differently, storing and retrieving those memories in their brains differently, as well. To find out if the same is true for invertebrates, they exposed honey bees to positive or negative events and then studied gene expression in a part of their brain known as the mushroom body.
(University of Kansas) Flowers depend on bees, birds and other pollinators to reproduce, and they can adapt strategically to attract these creatures – sometimes altering their traits so dramatically that they lure an altogether new pollinator. But not all such strategies are created equal. Researchers demonstrate that abandoning one pollinator for another to realize immediate benefits could compromise a flower’s long-term survival.