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Plant droplets serve as nutrient-rich food for insects
Small watery droplets on the edges of blueberry bush leaves are loaded with nutrients for many insects, including bees, wasps and flies, according to a Rutgers-led study, the first of its kind. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, suggests that these droplets are an important but underexplored feature in plants, with profound implications for insects in agricultural and natural ecosystems. (2020-09-29)

Two pesticides approved for use in US harmful to bees
A previously banned insecticide, which was approved for agricultural use last year in the United States, is harmful for bees and other beneficial insects that are crucial for agriculture, and a second pesticide in widespread use also harms these insects. That is according to a new analysis from researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. (2020-09-29)

Similarities and dissimilarities between automatic learning in bees and humans
This study provides the first systematic comparison of automatic visual learning in humans and honeybees, showing that while both species extract statistical information about co-occurrence contingencies of visual scenes, in contrast to humans, bees do not automatically encode predictability information in those scenes. Since access to predictability has long been considered as key for acquiring complex knowledge effectively, this difference might provide hints about what leads to human's versatile learning and superior cognitive abilities. (2020-09-28)

Scientists predict potential spread, habitat of invasive Asian giant hornet
Researchers at Washington State University have predicted how and where the Asian giant hornet, an invasive newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, popularly dubbed the ''murder hornet,'' could spread and find ideal habitat, both in the United States and globally. (2020-09-22)

Scientists "scent train" honeybees to boost sunflowers' seed production
If you want a dog to hunt something down, it helps to let them sniff an item to pick up the scent. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 17 have found that scent training honeybees might work in a similar way--and that this approach could make bees more efficient in pollinating crops. The findings show that honeybees given food scented with sunflower odors led to a significant increase in sunflower crop production. (2020-09-17)

Bumblebees benefit from faba bean cultivation
About one third of payments received by farmers are linked to 'greening measures' to promote biodiversity. These have been criticized because the benefits for biodiversity are unclear. Researchers, including Göttingen University, investigated whether the cultivation of faba beans (Vicia faba - broad bean or fava bean) can support wild bees. They found that bumblebees benefit from cultivating faba beans, while other wild bees depend on semi-natural habitats. Results are in the Journal of Applied Ecology. (2020-09-10)

Substances with anti-cancer action are identified in Brazilian red propolis
Researchers isolated eight novel polyphenols from the rarest type of propolis. Two of them were found to inhibit tumor cell proliferation in laboratory assays. (2020-09-09)

UBC scientists find clues to queen bee failure
Scientists at UBC are unravelling the mysteries behind a persistent problem in commercial beekeeping that is one of the leading causes of colony mortality--queen bee failure. (2020-09-08)

Venom from honeybees found to kill aggressive breast cancer cells
Honeybee venom induces cancer cell death in hard to treat triple-negative breast cancer with minimal effect on healthy cells (2020-09-01)

Consortium of Brazilian researchers completes sequencing of native stingless bee's genome
Frieseomelitta varia is a docile species of economic interest as a pollinator. Its workers are sterile, and some of its genetic sequences are identical to those found in other eusocial bees, pointing to the conservation of ancestral traits. (2020-08-31)

High human population density negative for pollinators
Population density, and not the proportion of green spaces, has the biggest impact on species richness of pollinators in residential areas. This is the result of a study from Lund University in Sweden of gardens and residential courtyards in and around Malmö, Sweden. (2020-08-25)

Out of sync: Ecologists report climate change affecting bee, plant life cycles
Reporting on the first community-wide assessment of 67 bee species of the Colorado Rockies, ecologists Michael Stemkovski of Utah State University and Rebecca Irwin of North Carolina State University say ''phenological mismatch,'' changing timing of life cycles between bees and flowers, caused by climate change, has the potential to disrupt a mutually beneficial relationship. (2020-08-19)

Research brief: Bee neighborly -- sharing bees helps more farmers
New paper shows the benefits of cost-sharing the conservation of wild bee habitats on agricultural lands, especially in nearby farming communities, can help overcome the tragedy of the commons. (2020-08-18)

Does city life make bumblebees larger?
Does urbanisation drive bumblebee evolution? A new study by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig provides an initial indication of this. According to the study, bumblebees are larger in cities and, therefore, more productive than their rural counterparts. In 'Evolutionary Applications', the research team reports that differences in body size maybe caused by the increasingly fragmented habitats in cities. (2020-08-17)

Decline in US bird biodiversity related to neonicotinoids, study shows
Bird biodiversity is rapidly declining in the US. The overall bird population decreased by 29% since 1970, while grassland birds declined by an alarming 53%. A new study from University of Illinois points to increased use of neonicotinoid insecticides as a major factor in the decline. (2020-08-14)

Palaeontology: 429-million-year-old eye provides a view of trilobite life
The internal structure of a 429-million-year-old fossilized trilobite eye is almost identical to that of modern bees, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The findings suggest that the principles of vision in many insects and crustaceans today are at least half a billion years old. (2020-08-13)

Study shows inbreeding reduces cooperation in banded mongooses
Inbreeding can reduce cooperation in banded mongooses according to a recent study by researchers. (2020-08-11)

'Insect apocalypse' may not be happening in US
Scientists have been warning about an 'insect apocalypse' in recent years, noting sharp declines in specific areas -- particularly in Europe. A new study shows these warnings may have been exaggerated and are not representative of what's happening to insects on a larger scale. (2020-08-11)

Land-use change disrupts wild plant pollination on a global scale
Human changes to the environment have been linked to widespread pollinator declines. New research published in Nature Communications shows that intensive land use will further decrease pollination and reproductive success of wild plants, especially of those plants that are highly specialized in their pollination. (2020-08-10)

Air pollution impacts the health of wild pollinators
We have almost no idea how air pollution affects other organisms who breathe the same air as we do. In some of the first research in the world to try to address the physiological and molecular impacts of air pollution on our wild plants and animals, scientists from the Bangalore Life Science Cluster show that air pollution could be devastating for organisms we rely on most for our own survival - like the honey bee. (2020-08-10)

Studying interactions between ground-nesting bees and soils
Research gives possible answers to increase pollinator populations on farms. (2020-07-29)

Curtin research finds first African carder bees to reach Western Australia
Curtin research has recorded the first known appearance of Pseudoanthidium (Immanthidium) repetitum, the African carder bee, in Western Australia and has highlighted the need to closely monitor the impacts of such introduced species on the ecosystem. (2020-07-29)

Lead released in Notre Dame Cathedral fire detected in Parisian honey
Elevated levels of lead have been found in samples of honey from hives downwind of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, collected three months after the April 2019 blaze. (2020-07-29)

Bees' buzz is more powerful for pollination, than for defence or flight
Buzzing by bees during flower pollination is significantly more powerful than that used for defense or flight, according to a new study from experts at the University of Stirling. (2020-07-29)

Decline of bees, other pollinators threatens US crop yields
Crop yields for apples, cherries and blueberries across the United States are being reduced by a lack of pollinators, according to Rutgers-led research, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. Most of the world's crops depend on honeybees and wild bees for pollination, so declines in both managed and wild bee populations raise concerns about food security, notes the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. (2020-07-28)

Study identifies spread of bee disease via flowers
One in 11 flowers carries disease-causing parasites known to contribute to bee declines, according to a Cornell University study that identifies how flowers act as hubs for transmitting diseases to bees and other pollinators. (2020-07-23)

Science sweetens native honey health claims
Examination of honey from five different stingless bee species across Neotropical and Indo-Australian regions has enabled for the first time the identification of the unusual disaccharide trehalulose as a major component representing between 13 and 44 g per 100 g of each of these honeys. The previously unrecognised abundance of trehalulose in stingless bee honeys is concrete evidence that supports some of the reported health attributes of this product. This is the first identification of trehalulose as a major component within a food commodity. (2020-07-22)

More flowers and pollinator diversity could help protect bees from parasites
Having more flowers and maintaining diverse bee communities could help reduce the spread of bee parasites, according to a new study. (2020-07-22)

Honeybees reveal environmental pollution in their surroundings
The University of Cordoba is collaborating on a new project by the University of Almeria to test APIStrip, a new tool for sampling environmental pollutants by means of bee colonies (2020-07-17)

About 94 per cent of wild bee and native plant species networks lost, York study finds
Climate change and an increase in disturbed bee habitats from expanding agriculture and development in northeastern North America over the last 30 years are likely responsible for a 94 per cent loss of plant-pollinator networks, York University researchers found. The researchers, corresponding author Professor Sandra Rehan of the Faculty of Science and grad student Minna Mathiasson of the University of New Hampshire, looked at plant-pollinator networks from 125 years ago through present day. (2020-07-14)

Native bees also facing novel pandemic
There is growing evidence that another ''pandemic'' has been infecting bees around the world for the past two decades, and is spreading: a fungal pathogen known as Nosema. (2020-07-09)

Group genomics drive aggression in honey bees
Researchers often study the genomes of individual organisms to try to tease out the relationship between genes and behavior. A new study of Africanized honey bees reveals, however, that the genetic inheritance of individual bees has little influence on their propensity for aggression. Instead, the genomic traits of the hive as a whole are strongly associated with how fiercely its soldiers attack. (2020-07-06)

Colony-level genetics predict gentle behavior in Puerto Rican honey bees
Puerto Rico's population of African-European hybrid honey bees (AHB) are famously known for being much gentler than their continental counterparts. Now Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues have found that this reduced defending of the nest is determined by colony-level genetics as opposed to individual bee's DNA, according to a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020-07-06)

York study: European ancestry plays role in 'killer' honey bees' aggressiveness
What causes African hybrid honey bees (AHB) or killer bees to be highly defensive and aggressive? York University researchers found it was the mixing of African and European genetics that led to hyper-aggression in this invasive strain of honey bees. Researchers in Brazil imported a honey bee subspecies from South African in the 1950s and bred them with European-derived honey bees, but bees escaped and mated with the local bees - an experiment gone wrong. (2020-07-05)

More ecosystem engineers create stability, preventing extinctions
Biological builders like beavers, elephants, and shipworms re-engineer their environments. How this affects their ecological network is the subject of new research, which finds that increasing the number of ''ecosystem engineers'' stabilizes the entire network against extinctions. (2020-07-03)

Wild bees depend on the landscape structure
Sowing strips of wildflowers along conventional cereal fields and the increased density of flowers in organic farming encourage bumblebees as well as solitary wild bees and hoverflies. Bumblebee colonies benefit from flower strips along small fields, but in organic farming, they benefit from large fields. This research was carried out by agroecologists from the University of Göttingen in a comparison of different farming systems and landscape types. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. (2020-06-30)

Researchers look for answers as to why western bumblebees are declining
The decline of the Western bumblebee is likely not limited to one culprit but, instead, due to several factors that interact such as pesticides, pathogens, climate change and habitat loss. (2020-06-29)

Fancy Aussie bees flew in from Asia
Ancestors of a distinctive pollinating bee found across Australia probably originated in tropical Asian countries, islands in the south-west Pacific or greater Oceania region, ecology researchers claim. Describing the likely dispersal corridor for the ancestral lineage of the bee genus Homalictus will help understand the social evolution of the vibrant halictine bees, South Australian, Czech and PNG researchers say in a new paper. (2020-06-26)

US beekeepers reported lower winter losses but abnormally high summer losses
2019-2020 was an odd year for US Beekeepers, and scientists are starting to piece together the puzzle behind the cyclical nature of honey bee colony survival. After 2018-2019's record high winter losses, beekeepers saw the highest summer loss ever in 2019. But the bees rebounded quickly, and by winter, losses had fallen to below average. For more detail, see our press release on this year's national managed honey bee survey from the Bee Informed partnership (2020-06-22)

Agroforestry is 'win win' for bees and crops, study shows
Agroforestry has long been suggested as a solution to halt the decline of pollinators, yet observational studies in temperate climates have been virtually non-existent. New study shows planting woody plants alongside crops increases wild insect pollinator numbers and pollination. (2020-06-16)

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