(EurekAlert/Pensoft) Restoration work on a cathedral in Panama uncovered around 120 clusters of nearly two-centuries-old orchid bee nests built on the altarpiece. The bee species that constructed the nests was identified as the extremely secretive Eufriesea surinamensis.
The impact of the Australian wildfires has been devastating and terrifying. They pose a very real danger to the country’s immensely diverse insect populations. But the bushfires may have put one species of native Australian bee on the teetering brink of extinction.
(New York Times) One-third of Kangaroo Island, a government-declared bee sanctuary off South Australia, has been burned so far this fire season, threatening the “last remaining pure stock” of Ligurian honeybees in the world. Foreign honeybees have an advantage, because they can abscond with their queen in the face of threats. Native stingless bees can’t — their queens can’t fly.
(Twitter, @bee_witcher) “Exciting news: this spring, we are forming a US National Native Bee Monitoring Network – the goal of which is to coordinate & support wild native bee monitoring projects across the country… Collaborators Sam Droege, Dan Cariveau, Shalene Jha, Bryan Danforth, Tam Smith, Jamie Strange, Becky Irwin, Sarina Jepsen, Rufus Isaacs, David Inouye, Neal Williams – and we hope to work with everyone in the bee monitoring community!”
(Great Lakes Echo) Great Lakes researchers are seeking fundamental knowledge about pollinators like bumble bees and butterflies, hoping to reverse their decline. “Part of this project is to create a baseline for future comparison. We’ve been resampling places where pollinators were sampled 50 years or 100 years ago and trying to see how the populations have changed.”
(The Conversation) “We need the public’s help to identify the bees in Australian backyards. There’s a good chance some are not native, but are unwanted exotic species. Identifying new intruders before they become established will help protect our native species.” You don’t need to be sure exactly what species you’ve seen. All you need to do is take clear, high-resolution photos and share them on a citizen science platform like iNaturalist.
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.
(BBC) There are 180 different types of bees found in Wales. However, seven species have already been wiped out and five more are on the brink of extinction. Others are clinging on, including the large mason bee, found nowhere in the UK other than two sites in the Llyn Peninsula.