Do more bees mean more berries? A blueberry pollination research update

Image of southeastern blueberry bee.

(Florida Blueberry Growers Association) Blueberry growers know that to get good yields, you need bees. So researchers looked at the three main pollinators of blueberries in Florida: honey bees, managed bumble bees and southeastern blueberry bees (Habropoda laboriosa). They found that the southeastern blueberry bee had the greatest effect on both percent fruit set and yield.

Beesharing start-up brings bees and German farmers together

Image of beekeeper holding frame.

(IamExpat) The start-up introduced a new service last year for farmers and their advisors. The platform allows them to indicate how large of an area they need pollinating, what crops are being grown and whether there are other agricultural fields in the immediate vicinity. This allows them to calculate how many bees are needed for their fields, as well as what kind of bees they need: mason bees, bumble bees or honey bees.

Bumble bees benefit from faba bean cultivation

Image of bumble bee on faba bean flower.

(Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) About one third of the payments received by German farmers are linked to specific “greening measures” to promote biodiversity. The cultivation of nitrogen-fixing legumes is very popular. However, these measures have been criticized because the benefits for biodiversity are unclear. It turns out that bumble bees benefit from the cultivation of faba beans, while all other wild bees depend on the presence of semi-natural habitats.

Does city life make bumble bees larger?

Image of city street.

(ScienceDaily, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) Does urbanization drive bumble bee evolution? According to a new study, bumble bees are larger in cities and, therefore, more productive than their rural counterparts. The research team reports that differences in body size may be caused by the increasingly fragmented habitats in cities.

Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas: A statewide project engaging community scientists to track bumble bees

Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas logo

(Xerces Society) A project to better understand the status of Missouri’s bumble bees is being launched this month thanks to a new conservation partnership. The Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas will combine the efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation; the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; two nonprofit organizations, Quail and Pheasants Forever and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; and volunteers spread throughout the state.