(Bloomberg) The fires destroyed about 6,000 hives in New South Wales state alone. More than 2,000 hives were reported destroyed in fires on Kangaroo Island, in the Adelaide Hills and in the state’s southeast. Five million hectares of eucalyptus forest where bees feed have also been razed.
(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.
(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.
(The Guardian) The bees of Notre Dame, whose escape from the inferno seemed almost miraculous, are thriving and conserving their energy, just as they have every year since they took up residence on the sacristy roof in 2013.
(Hartford Courant) Honey bees collect a surprising amount of pollen from plants like goldenrod, poison ivy, clover and ragweed. “Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that honeybees have a much wider range of flowers they enjoy than we humans do.”
(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”.
(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.”
(The Repository) “You can’t just pull anyone off the street that says, ‘I want to be a bee inspector.’ … because they have to understand the biology of bees. They have to know the diseases that afflict them.”