(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Twitter, Bees In Your Backyard @BeesBackyard) The critter hitchhiking on the bee we posted yesterday is a triungulin larva, the larva of a blister beetle. These larvae hide on a flower and jump onto an unsuspecting bee. They then ride with the bee back to her nest where they will consume the bees larva and the pollen.
(University of Guelph) “These results showed a complex and non-additive interaction between these two stressors.” TBR Editor: In other words, these are some wacky results that show the impact of neonics on bees is not simple or straight forward.