Engineers brought together by Mars are now using technology to save Australia’s bees from devastating varroa mites

Image of inside detection device.

(ABC NEWS) Australia’s biosecurity regime is about to get a timely technological boost from an unlikely alliance. Some young tech-savvy aerospace engineers have joined forces with one of Australia’s largest dairy companies to create the Purple Hive Project, which is aimed at safeguarding Australia’s bee and honey industry from invasive and destructive pests like the varroa mite with cameras and artificial intelligence. Australia is the only inhabited continent still free of the varroa mite.

Winner of ISU Three Minute Thesis is grad student who studies bees

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(videtteonline) The Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition that challenges master’s and Ph.D. students to describe their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a general audience. This year’s first-place winner is Austin C. Calhoun, whose thesis is focused on the interactive impact of a fungicide and parasite on bumble bee health.

Smart single mother bees learn from their neighbors

Image of artificial nests for bees.

(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.

Saving heather will help to save our wild bees

Image of bumble bee on flower.

(Phys.org/Royal Holloway, University of London) A new study published today has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite. The parasite, Crithidia bombi, is common among wild bumble bees and can be transmitted between bumble bees on flowers or within the nest.