This bee builds sandcastles. The supply and demand of nectar production. Sunflowers face east to attract more bees. And the return of wild pansies.

Keeping you connected to the world of bees

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.


Conservation

The return of wild pansies at Polk City Cemetery

(Xerces Society) “Hunched over against the late-day chill, I walked back and forth closely examining the hillside looking for any evidence of purple bloom. It was early April and I was back at Polk City Cemetery in Polk City, Iowa, on the hunt for the wild pansy (Viola bicolor). The cloud cover was full and I hoped I could give myself a morale boost on what was otherwise a gloomy spring day. Last spring, myself and one of my many mentors unexpectedly stumbled upon the tiny flower. The discovery occurred after significant brush removal had taken place in fall 2019 (check out a previous blog, Discovery of a Rare Plant Through Remnant Prairie Restoration, for background on the wild pansy and Polk City Cemetery). Would the wild pansy be present this year? We didn’t know, but hoped so.”


Economics

Bizarre rash of bee thefts on Long Island angers local farmers and ecological group

(CBS New York) Someone is raiding beehives, and they’re getting away with valuable queen bees.

Wildfires in Sardinia likely to have killed 30 million bees

(Euronews) With bees responsible for 76% of pollination of Europe’s food crops, there’s few species more vital to human survival. But they have been very badly affected by Sardinia’s July wildfires, which ravaged 50,000 acres and destroyed olive groves, forests, farms and vineyards. Beekeepers on the Italian island have said 500 beehives have been affected, amounting to 30 million bees.


Science

This bee builds sandcastles at the beach

(KQED video) While you’re enjoying a day at the beach, female digger bees are hard at work nearby building a different kind of sandcastle. This one’s not for play – it’s part of the nest where their offspring will grow. (Editor’s note: The video work here is fantastic!)

Research reveals the impact of natural selection on nectar supply and demand

(ScienceDaily, University of Sussex) New research shows that natural selection will cause flowers to produce less nectar when pollinators are abundant, and vice versa. The research explains that, when pollinators are scarce, natural selection will cause plants to produce more nectar to outcompete other plants in attracting pollinators. But when pollinators are abundant, plants will be selected to produce less nectar as pollinators are easy to attract and will work for “low wages”. The research helps explain why bees and other insects have to work harder to collect nectar in the summer, when there are more pollinators on the wing.

Sunflowers face east to attract more bees

(ScienceDaily, University of California - Davis) Sunflowers face the rising sun because increased morning warmth attracts more bees and also helps the plants reproduce more efficiently, according to a new study.

Newly-identified carnivorous plant traps midges – but maybe not bees

(ScienceDaily, University of British Columbia) The delicate stalk and pretty white flowers of Triantha occidentalis may seem like the perfect place to perch if you’re an insect, but get trapped in its sticky hairs and it will suck the nutrients from your dead corpse. However, researchers believe that Triantha is able to balance carnivory with pollination because its glandular hairs are not very sticky and can only trap midges and other small insects, so that the much larger and stronger bees and butterflies that act as its pollinators are not captured.

Bumble bee queens learn better than workers

(Twitter, Dr Felicity Muth @felicitymuth) “Perhaps unsurprisingly, bumblebee queens are very good at learning! Particularly excited about this paper since it was carried out under the spring & summer conditions of 2020” Original paper

Six lifestyle tips from parasitic bees

(Massive Science) Here’s the guide you didn't know you needed to being a successful cuckoo bee.

385 pinned bee specimens from Australia now available online

(Twitter, Dr. Juanita Rodriguez @juanita_rodr) “Just published online! Images of all 385 ANIC #nativebee species primary types! Open access and downloadable here

A major report warns climate change is accelerating and humans must cut emissions now

(NPR) Global climate change is accelerating and human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are the overwhelming cause, according to a landmark report released by the United Nations. There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming this century, but only if countries around the world stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible, the authors warn.

New study shows climate change may increase the spread of plant pathogens

(Smithsonian Magazine) New research found that, hypothetically, rising global temperatures will boost global agricultural productivity. But this outcome is oversimplified, says the study’s author, because global warming will also increase the spread of plant diseases, according to results in the same study. These plant pathogens may undermine any potential crop yield increases that arise from climate change.

Putting the field in fieldwork: Testing the quality of commercial data

(Entomology Today) Every day, independent consultants and scouts comb through farm fields, swinging sampling nets to monitor pests. A new study of the data generated by commercial sampling suggests that repeatability is sufficient for such data to be an important, useful resource for agricultural entomologists.


Society/Culture

Navy entomologists: Protecting sailors and marines around the world

(Entomology Today) Within the U.S. Navy, a variety of public health needs are served by units stationed around the world. These Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units act as “mini-CDCs” with responsibilities ranging from occupational medicine and environmental health to industrial hygiene and toxicology, and much more – including entomology.

Bee-yond! Beyoncé reveals she is raising honey bees at home

(New York Post) Beyoncé’s fans have long identified as “the Beyhive,” but the legendary singer now has her own real-life beehives at home. “Now I’m building a hemp and honey farm. I’ve even got hives on my roof!”


One More Thing…

Sticks, seeds, and petals from the American Southwest inspire new insect-shaped arrangements by Raku Inoue (Colossal)