(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.
(Cornell University) A new study found that squash and pumpkin pollen have physical, nutritional and chemical defense qualities that are harmful to bumble bees. But the results also suggest that deterring bumble bees from collecting and eating pollen may provide an evolutionary benefit to cucurbit plants.
(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.
(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.
(ScienceDaily / University of California – Davis) Orchid bees are master perfumers, and research suggests that the perfumes males concoct are unique to their specific species. A new study now links the evolution of sexual signaling in orchid bees to a gene that’s been shaped by each species’ perfume preferences.
(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.”
(UPI) New research suggests brood-tending bumble bee workers sleep much less than other bees, even forgoing sleep to care for offspring that is not their own. But unlike other animals, bees seem to do just fine without the normal amount of sleep.
(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.