Bee efficiency boosts diversified farming

Image of honey bee on pink flowers.

(Washington State University) The more diverse a farm’s plant population, the more beneficial it is for bee pollinators, and the more efficiently those pollinators work. “People want a silver bullet crop that they can plant that will bring in more pollinators, but that idea just wasn’t supported by our data. Having a variety, especially if they’re rare in a region, is the best way to increase pollinators… That means farmers can increase bee visits to their farm without adding more bees.”

A century later, plant biodiversity struggles in wake of agricultural abandonment

Aerial view of trees and fields.

(University of Minnesota) Researchers compared plots of abandoned farmland to nearby land that has not been significantly impacted by human activity. They found that one year after abandonment, the fields had, on average, 38 percent of the plant diversity and 34 percent of the plant productivity for the land that was never plowed; 91 years after abandonment, the fields still had only 73 percent of the plant diversity and 53 percent of the plant productivity.

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.

Farmed bees are mating with native bees – and that could endanger them

Image of managed bee boxes among plants.

(NewScientist) The hybridization can threaten the long-term survival of the native bees, says Ignasi Bartomeus at the Doñana Biological Station in Seville, Spain. “Diversity is the best insurance against [environmental] perturbations because it creates variability from which to adapt to new situations,” he says. “If we homogenize the genetic diversity of some species, we are losing this insurance.”

Bees swarm Berlin, where beekeeping is booming

Image of honey bees on comb.

(New York Times) Many newcomers to beekeeping mistakenly see it as a fairly easy hobby, when in reality they have neither the knowledge nor the time for it. Like anyone who gets fed up with a lousy landlord, the bees leave, turning up in seething clumps under eaves, on lampposts or in backyards. “We have too many people who keep bees who don’t do enough for their bees.”