(National Geographic) Bumble bees aren’t merely bumbling around our gardens. They’re actively assessing the plants, determining which flowers have the most nectar and pollen, and leaving behind scent marks that tell them which blooms they’ve already visited. Now, a new study reveals that bumble bees force plants to flower by making tiny incisions in their leaves – a discovery that has stunned bee scientists.
(USDA) A microscopic algae could provide a complete and sustainably sourced supplemental diet to boost the robustness of managed honey bees, according to scientists with the Agricultural Research Service. The microalgae, Arthrospira platensis, has a nutritional profile that closely resembles pollen.
(Penn State) Trees, shrubs and woody vines are among the top food sources for honey bees in urban environments, according to an international team of researchers. By using honey bees housed in rooftop apiaries in Philadelphia, the researchers identified the plant species from which the honey bees collected most of their food, and tracked how these food resources changed from spring to fall.
(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.
(Cornell University) A new study found that squash and pumpkin pollen have physical, nutritional and chemical defense qualities that are harmful to bumble bees. But the results also suggest that deterring bumble bees from collecting and eating pollen may provide an evolutionary benefit to cucurbit plants.
(Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation) The Virginia Pollinator-Smart Program is an initiative to encourage pollinator-smart solar development in the commonwealth. A key focus the certification is the use of Virginia native plant species for these projects.
(ScienceDaily/Pensoft Publishers) Many cities are introducing green areas to protect their fauna. Among such measures are flower strips, which provide support to flower-visiting insects. According to the first quantitative assessment of the speed and distance over which urban flower strips attract wild bees, scientists from the University of Munich found that one-year-old flower strips attracted a third of the 232 species recorded from Munich since 1997.
(University of California, Riverside) Research indicates that a queen bumble bee’s diet can impact how quickly her brood develops, or whether she’s able to live through hibernation. A new study from Dr. Hollis Woodard and her team at UC Riverside demonstrates that without adequate sugar, the queen’s fat body, which functions like a human liver, does not correctly produce the enzymes required for healthy metabolism and detoxification from pesticides.