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.”

80,000 wild honey bee colonies nesting in tree cavities in European forests?

Image of wild honey bees flying out of tree cavity.

(Julius-Maximilians-Universität) Wild populations of the western honey bee were widely assumed to be extinct in Europe. “However, recent fieldwork studies reveal that wild honey bees still exist in forests: Their colonies mainly nest in tree cavities.” So far, wild honey bees have only been observed in northern Poland and Germany, but new research estimates there could be as many as 80,000 wild honey bee colonies in European forests.

Bee efficiency boosts diversified farming

Image of honey bee on pink flowers.

(Washington State University) The more diverse a farm’s plant population, the more beneficial it is for bee pollinators, and the more efficiently those pollinators work. “People want a silver bullet crop that they can plant that will bring in more pollinators, but that idea just wasn’t supported by our data. Having a variety, especially if they’re rare in a region, is the best way to increase pollinators… That means farmers can increase bee visits to their farm without adding more bees.”

One year anniversary for our paper on the bees of GSENM

Map showing bee species richness in the monument.

It was one year ago today that Joe Wilson, Olivia Carril and I published our paper that explores how shrinking and carving up the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument might impact the incredible bee communities that live there. The issues raised in the paper are what took us back to the monument this past summer to continue studying the bees and create our documentary film. Give it a read when you have the chance, it’s open access.

Willamette Valley prairie flower becomes Endangered Species Act success story

Image of Bradshaw's desert parsley.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing Bradshaw’s desert parsley, a wet prairie wildflower, from the list of endangered species this week due to the plant’s successful recovery. Insects observed to pollinate this plant include some small native bees.

A little prairie can rescue honey bees from famine on the farm, study finds

Image of researchers in prairie surrounded by honey bees.

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) The researchers do not recommend that beekeepers move their hives to prairies. Remnant prairies are rare and too small for many hives, the researchers said. Overstocking with honey bees could negatively affect native bees. Instead, the team is testing an intervention that installs 5- to 8-acre strips of reconstructed prairie within or alongside agricultural fields.