New app helps Wisconsin farmers, researchers track wild bee populations

Image of app interface.

(University of Missouri) Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that the spiny pollen from a native wild dandelion species in the southern Rocky Mountains has evolved to attach to traveling bumblebees. When compared with the average lawn dandelion, which does not need pollen to reproduce, the researchers saw that the pollen on the lawn dandelion has a shorter distance between these spines, making it harder to attach to traveling pollinators.

Dramatic loss of food plants for insects in Zurich

Image of bumble bee on woody burdock.

(EurekAlert/University of Bonn) A team of German and Swiss researchers have demonstrated that the diversity of food plants for insects in Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years. Overall, all plant communities have become much more monotonous, with just a few dominant common species. This means that bees, flies and butterflies are increasingly deprived of their food base. 250 volunteers helped map the flora and process historical records.

Entobarbie: Getting up close with insects and being awed by them

Image of Entobarbie in her lab with mason bee tube.

Are you following Entobarbie on the socials? If not, you’ll want to check her out. The accounts on Instagram and Twitter feature Barbie (yes, the classic doll) engaging with real, living insects both in a Barbie-sized lab and out in the real-sized world of flowers and grass. These entomological vignettes are presented through absolutely incredible photography and with the language of a scientist. Here is a Bee Report exclusive interview with the creator of this entomological influencer – who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. It includes photos that Entobarbie took just for this story. Enjoy!

WSU scientists enlist citizens in hunt for giant, bee-killing hornet

Image of Asian giant hornet.

(Washington State University) In the first-ever sightings in the U.S., the Washington State Department of Agriculture verified two reports and received two unconfirmed reports of the Asian giant hornet late last year. WSDA scientists are now working with WSU researchers, beekeepers and citizens to find, trap and eradicate the pest. At home in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia, the hornet feeds on large insects, including native wasps and bees. In Japan, it devastates the European honey bee, which has no effective defense.

Aussie scientists need your help keeping track of bees (please)

Image of African carder bee on flower.

(The Conversation) “We need the public’s help to identify the bees in Australian backyards. There’s a good chance some are not native, but are unwanted exotic species. Identifying new intruders before they become established will help protect our native species.” You don’t need to be sure exactly what species you’ve seen. All you need to do is take clear, high-resolution photos and share them on a citizen science platform like iNaturalist.

Study sheds light on ‘overlooked’ bee species

Image of solitary bee making nest.

(Phys.org/Angli Ruskin University) The U.K.’s first citizen science project focusing on solitary, ground-nesting bees has revealed that they nest in a far broader range of habitats than previously thought. “This information on nesting behaviour is highly valuable because it puts us in a better position to provide advice to land owners on how to manage their land sympathetically in order to protect these important, ground-nesting solitary bees.”

Georgia’s first pollinator count will take a census of bees and butterflies

Image of girl counting insects on flowers.

(WABE) Atlanta gardeners say they’re seeing fewer butterflies and lightning bugs. But researchers don’t really know how their populations have changed here. They don’t know how most insects’ populations have changed. The state’s first-ever pollinator census, kicking off this week, could help start to get some answers. It’s a statewide citizen science project, a count of the bees and butterflies that land on flowers in yards, parks and at schools.