Sugar-poor diets wreak havoc on bumble bee queens’ health

Image of common eastern bumble bee.

(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.

New study helps California’s bumble bees by identifying their favorite flowers

Image of bumble bee in lupines.

(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.”

Tall hemp attracts more bees

Image of hemp plants from below.

(Boulder Weekly) The Cornell team collected bees at 11 hemp farms in central New York in the summer of 2018. Their findings show that hemp plants at least 2 meters tall attract nearly 17 times the number of bee visits compared to short plants. The number and species of bees increased proportionally with plant height, with 16 different bee varieties making cannabis pit stops.

What makes ornamental flowers attractive to pollinators?

Image of bee foraging on flower.

(Entomology Today) When it comes to flowers, the traits humans prefer – things like low pollen production, brighter colors, and changes to the height and shape of plants – are a mixed bag for pollinators. Researchers are now trying to understand what characteristics make ornamental plants attractive to pollinators. “I think this research is an important step to understanding how to design urban and suburban landscapes that are practical for humans and pollinators.”