Even moderate drought conditions are bad for bees

Image of cracked earth.

(Entomology Today) A new study tested the effect of reduced water availability on a plant used by bees and examined whether changes in plant nutrition content affect honey bees and bumble bees. “We found that water limitation directly impacts the floral resources produced by plants and this can have cascading effects on pollinators consuming the nectar and pollen of affected plants.”

Current Chernobyl-level radiation harmful to bees

Image of bumble bee in yellow flower.

(Phys.org) Bumble bees exposed to levels of radiation found within the Chernobyl exclusion zone suffered a “significant” drop in reproduction. The authors of the study said if their findings could be generalized “they suggest insects suffer significant negative consequences at dose rates previously thought safe” and called for revisions to the international framework for radiological protection of the environment.

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.