10,000 rare bees feared dead after attack at UK castle

Image of honey bee on flower.

(Smithsonian Magazine) Last year, black bee hives were introduced to Wisbech Castle in England, as part of an effort to conserve the rare critters. Now, thousands of the castle’s bees are feared dead, following an inexplicable attack by two intruders. The British black bee, also known as the dark European honey bee, is native to Britain. The subspecies was thought to have all but died out until several colonies were identified in 2012.

Mite-destroying gut bacterium might help save vulnerable honey bees

Close up image of mite on honey bee abdomen.

(Science) Researchers are tapping an unusual ally in the fight to bring the bees back: a bacterium that lives solely in their guts. By genetically modifying the bacterium to trick the mite or a virus to destroy some of its own DNA, scientists have improved bee survival in the lab—and killed many of the mites that were parasitizing the insects.

Eva Crane, the ultimate beekeeper

Image of Eva Crane with other woman.

(Cosmos) Eva Crane was one of the greatest writers on bees and beekeeping in the 20th century. See wrote and published hundreds of papers, articles and books. She helped create one of the world’s major databases on bee science. And her honey bee studies took her to more than 60 countries, “sometimes traveling by dugout canoe or dog sled to document the human use of bees from prehistoric times to the present”.

Honey bees are fond of strawberries, but solitary bees are always present

Image of strawberry field.

(Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) While honey bees might prefer strawberry fields over flowering oilseed rape, honey bees are less common in among strawberries when the oilseed rape is in full bloom. In contrast, solitary wild bees, like mining bees, are constantly present in the strawberry fields. “Wild bees are therefore of great importance for the pollination of crops… our results also show that wild bees in the landscape should be supported by appropriate management measures.”