New app helps Wisconsin farmers, researchers track wild bee populations

Image of app interface.

(University of Missouri) Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that the spiny pollen from a native wild dandelion species in the southern Rocky Mountains has evolved to attach to traveling bumblebees. When compared with the average lawn dandelion, which does not need pollen to reproduce, the researchers saw that the pollen on the lawn dandelion has a shorter distance between these spines, making it harder to attach to traveling pollinators.

Wild bees provide a bigger slice of the pie in pumpkin pollination

Image of bee in pumpkin blossom.

(Penn State) Pumpkin growers frequently rent managed honeybee colonies to pollinate their crops, but a recent study suggests wild bees may be able to do the job just as well and for free. Approximately 97 percent of the field observations consisted of three pollinators: bumble bees, honeybees, and squash bees. However, hand collections from the blossoms revealed 37 different bee species visiting the flowers. And the pollen transfer from just the wild species easily exceeded the pollination requirements for pumpkins.

80,000 wild honey bee colonies nesting in tree cavities in European forests?

Image of wild honey bees flying out of tree cavity.

(Julius-Maximilians-Universität) Wild populations of the western honey bee were widely assumed to be extinct in Europe. “However, recent fieldwork studies reveal that wild honey bees still exist in forests: Their colonies mainly nest in tree cavities.” So far, wild honey bees have only been observed in northern Poland and Germany, but new research estimates there could be as many as 80,000 wild honey bee colonies in European forests.

Bees swarm Berlin, where beekeeping is booming

Image of honey bees on comb.

(New York Times) Many newcomers to beekeeping mistakenly see it as a fairly easy hobby, when in reality they have neither the knowledge nor the time for it. Like anyone who gets fed up with a lousy landlord, the bees leave, turning up in seething clumps under eaves, on lampposts or in backyards. “We have too many people who keep bees who don’t do enough for their bees.”