Wildflower’s spiny pollen adapts to help plants reproduce

Microscopic image of spiky pollen.

(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 bumble bees. 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.

Bumble bee disease, reproduction shaped by flowering strip plants

Image of bee on sunflower.

(NC State University) Flowering strips can help offset pollinator decline but may also bring risks of higher pathogen infection rates for pollinators foraging in those strips. Bumble bees exposed to certain plants showed higher rates of infection by Crithidia bombi, a bee pathogen that is associated with reduced bee-foraging abilities as well as mortality in food-compromised bees.

Endangered bee species thriving on land where flower-rich meadows reintroduced in UK

Image of shrill carder bee on flower

(BBC) Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset has been designated as one of two “exemplary” sites for the rare shrill carder bee. The shrill carder has disappeared from 97 percent of the U.K.’s wildflower meadows since the 1950s. Lytes Cary Manor’s status as an exemplary site comes after almost a decade of work by volunteers, staff and farm tenants on the National Trust’s 361-acre estate to recreate wildflower-rich areas.

Researchers develop advanced cloning techniques to replenish threatened plants

Image of Hill's Thistle with bee on it.

(University of Guelph) Researchers used advanced cloning techniques to give the threatened Hill’s thistle a fighting chance at population recovery. A lack of suitable habitat due to the encroachment of trees and shrubs, as well as cottage development and quarrying activity in its natural habitat, have contributed to the decline. The Hill’s thistle grows in scarce Great Lakes areas known as open alvar grasslands. In Canada, the flowering plant is known to support the life cycles of rare bees and other pollinators.

Willamette Valley prairie flower becomes Endangered Species Act success story

Image of Bradshaw's desert parsley.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing Bradshaw’s desert parsley, a wet prairie wildflower, from the list of endangered species this week due to the plant’s successful recovery. Insects observed to pollinate this plant include some small native bees.

What are roadsides good for except signs? Helping butterflies and bees.

Image of black-eyed susans along side a road.

(Concord Monitor) New Hampshire has 5,000 miles of roads. Rights of way along all that mileage totals tens of thousands of acres, which isn’t used for much except road signs. But New Hampshire Fish and Game has received a $50,000 grant from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, boosted by $50,000 in matching state funds and grants, in hopes of using roadsides and center areas to grow plants that support butterflies, bees and other pollen-eating insects.

Wildflowers near watermelon fields attract wild bees

Collage of images of pollinators.

(Times and Democrat) A Clemson University graduate student has found growing strips of wildflowers near watermelon fields can help attract pollinators, such as native insects and honey bees. During her study, Miriam “Mimi” Jenkins found most of the watermelon plant pollinators were native bees – tiny sweat bees – despite the nearby hives.