(ABC) Humans are one of very few animals known to be able to recognize objects across senses. This ability exists at least partly because we are able to imagine the object in our brain. Researchers from the U.K. and Australia now report they have evidence that bumble bees can also create mental imagery.
(The Guardian) A study suggests the likelihood of a bumble bee population surviving in any given place has declined by 30 percent in the course of a single human generation. The researchers say the rates of decline appear to be “consistent with a mass extinction”. The team used data collected over a 115-year period on 66 bumble bee species across North America and Europe to develop a model simulating “climate chaos” scenarios. They were able to see how bumble bee populations had changed over the years by comparing where the insects were now to where they used to be.
(University of California, Davis) Bumble bee can carry up to 80 percent of their body weight when flying. And yet they get more economical in terms of expending energy when heavily loaded – which doesn’t make any sense in terms of energetics. “This has given us an appreciation that it’s a behavior, they choose what to do. Even the same bee on a different day will pick a new way to flap its wings.”
(CapRadio) Last June, the California Fish and Game Commission decided to list four bees as candidates to be endangered species, writing that there was a “substantial possibility” that the bees would end up protected by the act. Their candidacy provides temporary protection. But many agricultural interests are upset over the listing, and are suing to stop the insects from joining the more than 250 species protected by the act.
(TUM) In this experiment, the more fat pollen contained, the less the bumble bees consumed that pollen. Bumble bees actually accepted death over having to consume the high-fat pollen. The German researchers concluded that fat in pollen adversely affects the bumble bees’ reproductive capabilities and survival, which is why it is avoided.
(Entomology Today) “We discovered plants that were big winners for all bumble bee species but, just as importantly, plant species that were very important for only a single bumble bee species. This study allowed us to provide a concise, scientifically based list of important plant species to use in habitat restoration that will meet the needs of multiple bumble bee species and provide blooms across the entire annual life cycle.”
(iDiv) German researchers have demonstrated experimentally that flowers were more successfully pollinated and more frequently visited in cities than in rural areas, despite also finding greater diversity of flying insects in the countryside. By far the most industrious urban pollinators were bumble bees, most likely benefiting from the abundant habitats available in the city.
(New York Times) When a bumble bee is choosing which flowers to gather nectar from, she might consider a plant’s distance, the shape of the petals and how sugar-rich the nectar is. The bumble bee likely considers another variable as well: How fast can she barf it back up?