How does an intersex bee behave?

Close up image of gynandromorph bee.

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) In a neotropical forest in Panama, an unusual bee was born. Its form was that of a male on one half and a female on the other half. Given the singularity of the occurrence, the group decided to describe an aspect of its behavior that hadn’t been previously studied in gynandromorphs: the circadian activity – the internal clock that drives an organism’s daily activities.

Alfalfa leafcutting bees like nests that face north

Image of alfalfa leafcutting bee looking for nest hole.

(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.

Pesticides damage the brains of baby bees

Image of CT scan of bumble bee brain.

(CNN) Research from the Imperial College London has found that baby bumble bees can feel the effects of food contaminated by pesticides brought back into the colony, making them poorer at performing tasks later in life. Pesticide-contaminated food caused parts of the bee brain to grow less, leading to older adult bees possessing smaller and functionally impaired brains – an effect that appeared to be permanent and irreversible.

Stingless bee species depend on a complex fungal community to survive

Image of stingless bee.

(FAPESP) A new study shows that the larvae of the Brazilian stingless bee Scaptotrigona depilis depend on interactions between three different species of fungus to complete their development and reach adulthood. “The new findings demonstrate that the interactions between these social insects and their microbiota are much more complex than we can imagine. This should serve as a warning against the indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture, since many are lethal to fungi.”

Male honey bees inject queens with blinding toxins during sex

Image of honey bees mating.

(University of California – Riverside) They say love is blind, but if you’re a queen honey bee it could mean true loss of sight. New research finds male honey bees inject toxins during sex that cause temporary blindness. To ensure their genes are among those that get passed on, the male bees want to discourage the queen from mating with additional partners – and if she can’t see properly, she can’t fly and encounter other male bees.