(Smithsonian Magazine) Last year, black bee hives were introduced to Wisbech Castle in England, as part of an effort to conserve the rare critters. Now, thousands of the castle’s bees are feared dead, following an inexplicable attack by two intruders. The British black bee, also known as the dark European honey bee, is native to Britain. The subspecies was thought to have all but died out until several colonies were identified in 2012.
(Phys.org/Angli Ruskin University) The U.K.’s first citizen science project focusing on solitary, ground-nesting bees has revealed that they nest in a far broader range of habitats than previously thought. “This information on nesting behaviour is highly valuable because it puts us in a better position to provide advice to land owners on how to manage their land sympathetically in order to protect these important, ground-nesting solitary bees.”
(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.
(University of Exeter) A study from the University of Exeter shows that roadside verges provide a vital refuge for pollinators. But the study emphasizes that not all verges are equal. It found pollinators prefer less busy roads and areas deeper into verges. It also found that cutting verges in summer, which removes wildflowers, makes them useless for pollinators for weeks or even months.
(The Sun) Osmia avosetta bees, which are commonly found in the Middle East, are known for their unique nests made from flower petals. The family contacted the British Beekeepers Association which then alerted the UK’s environmental authority, Defra, and the National Bee Unit. A spokesperson from the association said, “Non-native species like this bee pose several problems and need to be controlled. They may carry viruses that will wipe out native species or they may simply out-compete similar species for food sources.”
(The Scientist) “We often think about bees as our major pollinators, but actually the hoverflies and other species of flies are important, and these sheer numbers suggest they’re [very] important.”