Local Australian council bans new beehives in suburbia regardless of whether they’re native stingless bees

Image of native stingless beehives.

(ABC News) Noosa Shire Council’s internationally renowned green credentials are taking a battering as beekeepers face a ban on new beehives in the suburbs. The New Noosa Plan, introduced in July, permits only existing, registered beekeepers to keep a maximum of three hives. The plan does not distinguish between stingless native bees and European honey bees.

Australian hives recover after heavy toll of drought and bushfire

Image of honey bee frame being lifted out of hive.

(ABC News) The bee population in New South Wales has bounced back after heavy losses during the drought and bushfires. Widespread rain to date in 2020 has led to a bumper spring, with winter crops, trees and plants all blossoming for the first time in years. “This is probably the best start to a bee season in at last 20 years in the southern half of the state and it’s greatly improved in the northern part of the state.”

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.”

Research finds first African carder bees to reach Western Australia

Image of African carder bee in flower.

(Curtin University) Research from Curtin University has recorded the first known appearance of the African carder bee in Western Australia and has highlighted the need to closely monitor the impacts of such introduced species on the ecosystem. “Unlike native Australian bees, which all are solitary nesters, the African carder bee nests communally, where masses of brood cells from multiple females are found in the one place.”

Bee shortage in Australia threatens crop pollination after back-to-back dry wet seasons

Image of beekeeper holding frame.

(ABC NEWS) Bee numbers in Australia’s Northern Territory are dwindling after back-to-back dry wet seasons, to the point that beekeepers cannot satisfy demand for honey and crucial pollination services. The lower rainfall caused many native Top End trees and plants to produce much less nectar, on which healthy bee populations depend.

Engineers brought together by Mars are now using technology to save Australia’s bees from devastating varroa mites

Image of inside detection device.

(ABC NEWS) Australia’s biosecurity regime is about to get a timely technological boost from an unlikely alliance. Some young tech-savvy aerospace engineers have joined forces with one of Australia’s largest dairy companies to create the Purple Hive Project, which is aimed at safeguarding Australia’s bee and honey industry from invasive and destructive pests like the varroa mite with cameras and artificial intelligence. Australia is the only inhabited continent still free of the varroa mite.

Strange, spiral bee combs look like fantastical crystal palaces. Now we know why.

Image of the spiral combs.

(Live Science) How did these Tetragonula bees become the Frank Lloyd Wrights of the insect world? Does each colony employ its own master architect, charged with guiding his comb’s construction — or does each worker bee merely follow an unconscious set of individually-encoded building rules? According to a new study, “These combs follow the same basic rules that cause crystals to grow up in a spiral pattern.”