Sugar-poor diets wreak havoc on bumble bee queens’ health

Image of common eastern bumble bee.

(University of California, Riverside) Research indicates that a queen bumble bee’s diet can impact how quickly her brood develops, or whether she’s able to live through hibernation. A new study from Dr. Hollis Woodard and her team at UC Riverside demonstrates that without adequate sugar, the queen’s fat body, which functions like a human liver, does not correctly produce the enzymes required for healthy metabolism and detoxification from pesticides.

As bumble bee diets narrow, ours could too

Image of bumble bee on flower.

(UC Riverside) “Our study is the first to look at diet during this stage where queen bumbles are trying to start a nest, and to show that the diets they have access to impact how quickly they can transition to having helpers.” And without a variety of pollens available, the queens are constrained to fewer options, some of which appear to be bad for them.