Study traces how farmlands affect bee disease spread

Image of solitary bee on yellow flowers.

(Cornell University) A new study on bees, plants and landscapes in upstate New York sheds light on how bee pathogens spread, offering possible clues for what farmers could do to improve bee health. The study found that 65 percent of bee species and 75 percent of flower species carried pathogens, and that pathogens are transmitted between bees and flowers.

Does urbanization homogenize regional biodiversity in native bees?

Image of researchers in desert landscape.

(University of California, Riverside) When you think of California in the 1970s, maybe you think of hippies, Fleetwood Mac, or skateboards. But if you’re an entomologist, you might think of all the natural spaces that have since been devoured by urbanization and wonder what happened to the native bees that lived in them. An assistant professor of entomology has embarked on a project to figure out how habitat destruction has affected native bees in California by resampling sites first studied in the 1970s.

Endangered bee species thriving on land where flower-rich meadows reintroduced in UK

Image of shrill carder bee on flower

(BBC) Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset has been designated as one of two “exemplary” sites for the rare shrill carder bee. The shrill carder has disappeared from 97 percent of the U.K.’s wildflower meadows since the 1950s. Lytes Cary Manor’s status as an exemplary site comes after almost a decade of work by volunteers, staff and farm tenants on the National Trust’s 361-acre estate to recreate wildflower-rich areas.

Researchers develop advanced cloning techniques to replenish threatened plants

Image of Hill's Thistle with bee on it.

(University of Guelph) Researchers used advanced cloning techniques to give the threatened Hill’s thistle a fighting chance at population recovery. A lack of suitable habitat due to the encroachment of trees and shrubs, as well as cottage development and quarrying activity in its natural habitat, have contributed to the decline. The Hill’s thistle grows in scarce Great Lakes areas known as open alvar grasslands. In Canada, the flowering plant is known to support the life cycles of rare bees and other pollinators.

Bees in Fiji point to new evolutionary answers

Close up image of Fijian bee.

(EurekAlert/Flinders University) The adaptation to new habitats and niches is often assumed to drive the diversification of species. But rare bees found in high mountain areas of Fiji provide evidence that they have evolved into many species, despite the fact they can’t readily adapt to different habitats. “Perhaps, if Darwin had studied Fijian bees instead of Galapagos finches, he might have come to rather different conclusions about the origin of species.”

New Mexico unveils ‘pollinator protection’ license plate

Image of new license plate.

(Santa Fe New Mexican) The state transportation department said proceeds from the new plates will help fund planting projects along state roads. The pollinator project also will create educational gardens and reduce mowing and spraying of herbicides along roadways as a way to improve habitat for bees and other pollinators. The plate features the artwork of a sixth-grade student from the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy.