(New York Times) A breeze-ruffled garden can be a minefield for honey bees: airborne seeds, shifting leaves and lurching flowers are basically projectiles, trap doors and Godzilla-tipped skyscrapers. In a new study, researchers found that when the going is tough, honey bees appear to high-tail it and hope for the best.
(Horizon) Studying exactly how declining pollinator populations affect biodiversity is a challenge, as is studying any changes to bee behavior and foraging. One way to study an animal’s behavior is to track it. But this is tricky with bumble bees. Unless you use a radar system to pinpoint the position of the bee every few seconds…
(The Guardian) A controlled experiment reveals how high wind speeds can significantly reduce the efficiency of foraging honey bees. With no wind, the bees on average took nectar from 5.45 flowers during their 90-second time trial. When wind speeds were increased, this fell to an average of 3.73 flowers. Over the course of a day, a bee’s capacity to supply its colony with food would be significantly curtailed.
(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.”
(Imperial College London) Realistic exposures caused bumble bee to fly significantly shorter distances and for less time, reducing the area in which colonies can forage for food by up to 80 percent. Intriguingly, exposed bees seemed to enter a hyperactive-like state in which they initially flew faster than unexposed bees and therefore may have “worn themselves out”.
(EurekAlert/University of Saskatchewan) Traces of neonicotinoid pesticides can impair a flying insect’s ability to spot predators and avoid collisions with objects in their path.