Rare stingless bee found in California – by 4 year old. Scientists develop mite-killing fungus. Honey bee abdomen hair reduces wear and tear. Backlash against TikTok Bee Lady.
(Bay Nature) Four-year-old Annika Arnout, on a neighborhood outing with her caregiver and her pet garden snail this spring, found not one, but two, colonies of a tiny, stingless bee native to Brazil, adding a new twist to an entomological detective story 70 years in the making.
(Science) The biggest scourge to bees is tiny – a mite the size of a pinhead that feeds on them and spreads deadly viruses. Getting rid of the parasite, Varroa destructor, is tough: Chemicals can kill it, but the mite has started to evolve resistance to the usual pesticides. Moreover, these and other treatments can harm the bees themselves. Now researchers have toughened up a mite-killing fungus so it can slay the bee slayers inside a hot beehive. If the new strain passes further tests, it could help honey bees around the world avoid a gruesome fate, and reduce the use of chemical pesticides.
(Twitter, Shawn Christensen @pollenmicrobes) “Fieldwork on the beach collecting Anthophora bomboides brood cells, which smell like cheetos?! There’s a column of pollen in the middle. They are nesting all over the cliff (zoom in on it!) & dig the nests into the cliff by adding water to the hard dirt to soften it as they dig.”
(The Cut) Oh, honey, we’ve got bee drama. Popular TikTok account Texas Beeworks is facing backlash for its bee-removal and beekeeping videos. Texas Beeworks’ Erika Thompson (a.k.a. the TikTok Bee Lady) is best known for videos that show her gently scooping up dozens of bees with her bare hands. They’re usually accompanied by a soft-spoken voice-over explaining things like how she finds the queen and why the bees she’s relocating have swarmed a particular surface. However, fellow bee experts have recently raised questions about whether Thompson’s videos are misleading and if her methods are safe for her and the bees. So, what exactly is going on?
(The Conversation) Erika Thompson’s videos have been getting backlash from other beekeepers, fueled by the media. Critics say she uses dangerous beekeeping practices, and she isn’t really “saving the bees”. But to some bee researchers and beekeepers, this backlash seems over the top because Thompson is clearly a competent beekeeper who is educating the public about honey bees in her own way on social media. They also point out that attacks on Thompson seem to have a basis in misogyny, and some of the criticism seems to be a matter of envy.
(EurekAlert, American Chemical Society) One of many body movements a honey bee makes while buzzing among flowers is the repetitive curving and straightening of its abdomen. The abdomen is divided into several tough outer plates that make up its exoskeleton. When the abdomen flexes and extends, these segments slide over each other, creating friction. However, the overlapping portions of the segments show very little wear and tear, a finding that has puzzled scientists. Now researchers have found that tiny hairs reduce friction from these motions, saving energy for the industrious insects’ daily activities while reducing wear and tear. This knowledge could help researchers design longer-lasting moving parts.
(Good News Network) An Irish designer is hoping to save her island’s native bee species by creating special hives grown from mushrooms. The Econooc hives are grown from mycelium spores spread onto an agricultural byproduct, like wood shavings or straw, called a substrate. They are specifically designed for the Irish black bee.
One More Thing…
365 Miniature Paper Birds in one year! By Nayan Shrimali and Vaishali Chudasama. “To form each work, the pair begins by cutting feathers, beaks, and talons from layers of paper and then using watercolor to produce further detail.” From ArtBioCollaborative @ArtBioCollab via Twitter.