IKEA wants to help you design your own bee home for free

Image of different bee hotels.

(My Modern Net) SPACE10, a research and design lab supported by IKEA, has started the Bee Home project – an online hive designer where users can download designs for free. Additionally, no tools are needed to construct the homes. The site also features an interactive map where you can locate other Bee Home designs around the globe. “With a design that is flexible and accessible through open-source design principles, everyone, everywhere is empowered to design and fabricate their own Bee Home locally.”

Native bees also facing novel pandemic

Image of bumble bee and honey bee on flower.

(University of Colorado at Boulder) While it’s been documented across three continents, the fungal pathogen known as Nosema has almost exclusively been studied and recorded only in the European honey bee. Almost nothing is known about the impact of this pathogen on native, solitary bees Without knowing how Nosema is affecting native, solitary bees, a whole pandemic and its ecological consequences could be going on unnoticed.

Recycling old genes to get new traits: How social behavior evolves in bees

Image of sweat bee in tunnel.

(Phys.org/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) A team working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute found evidence to support a long-debated mode of evolution, revealing how evolution captures environmental variation to teach old genes new tricks: Sweat bees switch from solitary to social behavior, repurposing ancient sets of genes that originally evolved to regulate the development of other traits.

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.

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.

Honey bees are fond of strawberries, but solitary bees are always present

Image of strawberry field.

(Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) While honey bees might prefer strawberry fields over flowering oilseed rape, honey bees are less common in among strawberries when the oilseed rape is in full bloom. In contrast, solitary wild bees, like mining bees, are constantly present in the strawberry fields. “Wild bees are therefore of great importance for the pollination of crops… our results also show that wild bees in the landscape should be supported by appropriate management measures.”

Tall hemp attracts more bees

Image of hemp plants from below.

(Boulder Weekly) The Cornell team collected bees at 11 hemp farms in central New York in the summer of 2018. Their findings show that hemp plants at least 2 meters tall attract nearly 17 times the number of bee visits compared to short plants. The number and species of bees increased proportionally with plant height, with 16 different bee varieties making cannabis pit stops.