(Twitter, Kelsey K. Graham, PhD @kelsey_k_graham) “New paper out showing benefits of wildflower plantings on fruit farms for stem-nesting #bees. Nesting almost exclusively at farms with plantings, though bees often used ‘volunteer’ species for pollen collection (not seeded species!).” The original paper.
(Utah State University) Plastic has become ubiquitous in modern life and its accumulation as waste in the environment is sounding warning bells for the health of humans and wildlife. Previously, researchers have noted leafcutter bees were using plastic waste to construct their nests, and they suggested such behavior could be an “ecologically adaptive trait” and a beneficial recycling effort. However, just because bees can use plastic, doesn’t mean they should.
(Phys.org) Researchers at Oregon State University are studying the interaction between the bees and soil in agricultural settings. The team looked at physical and chemical properties of soils collected from active bee and sand nest wasp sites in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. They compared soil properties among seven farm sites to identify similarities and differences. An interesting finding from the research is that the team found lipids in the soil nest linings. The lipids may provide a type of waterproofing for the nests and their inhabitants.
(Olney Daily Mail) A Maryland state apiary inspector was stumped by the identity of insect cocoons that she had found inside the hexagonal cells of a beekeeper’s honey bee colony. After studying the cocoons, researchers definitively identify the intruders as a type of solitary mason bee: the horned-face bee (Osmia cornifrons). Horned-face bees have never previously been reported cocooning in honey bee colonies.
(Entomology Today) Alfalfa leafcutting bees are exceedingly demanding about picking a site in nest boxes used for commercial production that is not too hot and not too cold but where the temperature is just right for their eggs and larvae. New research shows that the right location in a nest box may be only a couple of inches away from the wrong one.
(Highland Canine Training) There are three ways to find bumble bee nests. You can walk around and look for them. You can get volunteers to walk around and look for them. Or you can use a conservation detection dog. Meet Darwin, the conservation dog searching for Alpine bumble bee nests.
(Queen Mary University of London) A new study found that solitary female bees looked for signs of parasite infection in other species’ nests and used this information to select a safe place to bring up their own brood. The scientists found these species were surprisingly intelligent in their observations and able to notice other cues of parasite infection in the surrounding environment. For example, they were able to remember geometric symbols found next to parasitized nests, and avoid nests near these symbols in future breeding periods.