First Australian night bees recorded foraging in darkness

Close-up image of Australian native bee.

(Phys.org, Flinders University) A new study has identified two species of Australian bee that have adapted their vision for night-time conditions. Both species have developed enlarged compound and simple eyes which allow more light to be gathered when compared to their daytime kin. “Before this study, the only way to show that a bee had adapted to low-light was by using difficult-to-obtain behavioral observations, but we have found that you should be able to figure this out by using high-quality images of a specific bee.”

US National Native Bee Monitoring Network website is up and running

Image of bumble bee on person's fingers.

(Twitter, usnativebees @usnativebees) “Please check out our new RCN website: usnativebees.com. We will be adding a member directory + other features soon”

(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “I was interviewed about bee monitoring for the first blog post of the new RCN website. Check it out for your daily dose of controversial bee opinions”

Do more bees mean more berries? A blueberry pollination research update

Image of southeastern blueberry bee.

(Florida Blueberry Growers Association) Blueberry growers know that to get good yields, you need bees. So researchers looked at the three main pollinators of blueberries in Florida: honey bees, managed bumble bees and southeastern blueberry bees (Habropoda laboriosa). They found that the southeastern blueberry bee had the greatest effect on both percent fruit set and yield.

Why some ecologists worry about rooftop honey bee programs

Image of rooftop bee boxes.

(Wired) The growing interest in hobbyist beekeeping has some ecologists worried. The European honey bee, as its name might suggest, is not native to North America. While honey bees are a managed pollinator species, about 4,000 species of native bees also call the US home, including its urban areas. One group of researchers observed dozens of wild species across several Chicago neighborhoods, while another nature organization recorded more than 200 species in New York City. Now, some ecologists are concerned that with so much human help, the newcomers might outcompete their wild cousins, causing an ecological ripple effect that would threaten both the bees and the plants that depend on them.