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Fears of a decline in bee pollination confirmed
Widespread reports of a decline in the population of bees and other flower-visiting animals have aroused fear and speculation that pollination is also likely on the decline. A recent University of Toronto study provides the first long-term evidence of a downward trend in pollination, while also pointing to climate change as a possible contributor. (2010-09-05)

York U researcher finds new bee in downtown Toronto
A York University doctoral student who discovered a new species of bee in Toronto has completed a study of 84 species of sweat bees in Canada. Nineteen of these species are new to science -- never before identified -- including the new Toronto bee, which is actually quite common in eastern Canada and the US. Jason Gibbs' expansive study, published in Zootaxa today, will help scientists track bee diversity, and understand pollination biology and insect social behavior. (2010-08-31)

Commercial trap for wasps, hornets and yellowjackets 'baited' with USDA technology
Forget the ants marching one by one -- yellowjackets are the real party-crashers when it comes to spoiling picnics, outdoor barbecues and other summer fun where cold beverages and meat are present. Fortunately, a new trap is available that lures these stinging, sugar-sipping pests to their doom, thanks to attractants developed by US Department of Agriculture scientists and commercialized by Sterling International Inc., of Spokane, Wash. The scientists work for USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, the Agricultural Research Service. (2010-08-26)

Scientists say natural selection alone can explain eusociality
Scientists at Harvard University have sketched a new map of the (2010-08-25)

Brain gene expression changes when honey bees go the distance
Tricking honey bees into thinking they have traveled long distance to find food alters gene expression in their brains, researchers report this month. Their study, in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior, is the first to identify distance-responsive genes. (2010-08-18)

Bees warm up with a drink, too!
When we venture out on a cool morning, nothing energizes our body like a nice warm drink and new research reveals that bees also use the same idea when they're feeling cold. A study by internationally renowned insect scientists Drs. Melanie Norgate and Adrian Dyer shows that bees also like to keep winter at bay with a warm drink. (2010-08-17)

Artificial bee eye gives insight into insects' visual world
Despite their tiny brains, bees have remarkable navigation capabilities based on their vision. Now scientists have recreated a lightweight imaging system mimicking a honeybee's field of view, which could change the way we build mobile robots and small flying vehicles. (2010-08-06)

Bee pastures may help pollinators prosper
Beautiful wildflowers might someday be planted in (2010-08-04)

New $1.5 million NSF grant to track bee declines and pollination
A $1.5 million National Science Foundation multi-institutional grant -- co-led by Cornell entomologist Bryan Danforth -- will consolidate data from 10 natural history bee collections across the United States. (2010-07-29)

Shade-coffee farms support native bees that maintain genetic diversity in tropical forests
Shade-grown coffee farms support native bees that help maintain the health of some of the world's most biodiverse tropical regions, according to a study by a University of Michigan biologist and a colleague at the University of California, Berkeley. (2010-07-26)

Insulin signaling key to caste development in bees
What makes a bee grow up to be a queen? Scientists have long pondered this mystery. Now, researchers in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University have fit a new piece into the puzzle of bee development; a piece that also illuminates understanding about our own development and aging. (2010-07-14)

Don't let your termites grow up to be mommies
A North Carolina State University entomologist has for the first time shown which specific chemicals are used by some termite queens to prevent other termites in the colony from becoming mommies like themselves. (2010-07-08)

UC Riverside entomologist to oversee centralized database of bee specimens
Entomologist Douglas Yanega of the University of California, Riverside and colleagues have received funding from the National Science Foundation to begin digitizing and consolidating nearly one million specimen records from ten bee collections across the United States. The project will help predict risks to bees and their pollination services from climate change, habitat loss, and other factors. Even though there are over 19,000 bee species worldwide, no single central repository for information about them exists. (2010-06-30)

Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria
Sweet news for those looking for new antibiotics: new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections. (2010-06-30)

Even the midnight sun won't convince bees to work nights
Bees observe a strict working day, even in conditions of 24-hour sunlight. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology tagged worker bumblebees with a radio identifier, similar to an Oyster Card, which was used to monitor their movements during the constant light of the Arctic summer. (2010-06-28)

Bees help to beat MRSA bugs
Bees could have a key role to play in urgently needed new treatments to fight the virulent MRSA bug, according to research led at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. (2010-06-28)

Ocean stirring and plankton patchiness
Computer simulations performed by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Glasgow show how oceanic stirring and mixing influence the formation and dynamics of plankton patches in the upper ocean. (2010-06-21)

Pollinators focus of international conference
The decline of pollinator populations around the world and the potential causes and cures for the decline will be the focus of the International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy, July 24-28, 2010, Penn State's University Park campus. (2010-06-17)

Researchers learn about role of bees in tropical ecosystems using radio transmitters
A New York State Museum scientist is one of several researchers who have become the first to use tiny radio transmitters to track bees over long distances in a forest habitat, yielding new insight into the role of bees in tropical forest ecosystems. The bee study research conducted by Dr. Roland Kays, the museum's curator of mammals, and the other scientists, was published in the online peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE on May 26. (2010-05-26)

How do bumblebees get predators to buzz off?
Toxic or venomous animals, like bumblebees, are often brightly colored to tell would-be predators to keep away. However scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London and Queen Mary, University of London have found a bumblebee's defense could extend further than its distinctive color pattern and may indeed be linked to their characteristic shape, flight pattern or buzzing sound. The study is published in the Journal of Zoology today, May 26. (2010-05-26)

First radio tracking of tropical orchid bees
For the first time, researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute track unique signals from tiny transmitters glued to individual orchid bees, yielding new insight into the role of bees in tropical forest ecosystems. (2010-05-26)

Microbial team may be culprit in colony collapse disorder
New research from the US Department of Agriculture identifies a new potential cause for colony collapse disorder in honeybees. A group of pathogens including a fungus and family of viruses may be working together to cause the decline. Scientists report their results today at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego. (2010-05-25)

The making of a queen: Road to royalty begins early in paper wasps
Social status in paper wasps is established earlier in life than scientists thought, says a new study in the journal PLoS ONE. While many social insects have distinct castes that differ in appearance and are fixed from birth, paper wasp society is more fluid -- all castes look alike, and any female can climb the social ladder and become a queen. Now, molecular analysis reveals that paper wasp social hierarchy is less flexible than it appears. (2010-05-19)

Organic farming shows limited benefit to wildlife
Organic farms may be seen as wildlife friendly, but the benefits to birds, bees and butterflies don't compensate for the lower yields produced, according to new research from the University of Leeds. (2010-05-05)

Bees that nest in petals
A rare species of solitary bees found in the Middle East, Osima avoseta, constructs its nests from petals, creating chambers of pink, yellow, blue, and purple for its larvae. The colorful nests moist, secure chambers for the larvae to grow, consume provisions, and build a cocoon to wait out the winter. (2010-05-04)

Survey reports latest honey bee losses
Losses of managed honey bee colonies nationwide totaled 33.8 percent from all causes from October 2009 to April 2010, according to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the Agricultural Research Service. (2010-04-29)

Paper wasps and honey bees share a genetic toolkit
They are both nest-building social insects, but paper wasps and honey bees organize their colonies in very different ways. In a new study, researchers report that despite their differences, these insects rely on the same network of genes to guide their social behavior. (2010-04-27)

Breeding orchid species creates a new perfume
Some orchids mimic the scent of a female insect in order to attract males for pollination. Researchers writing in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology found that breeding two of these orchid species to generate a novel hybrid resulted in a new scent. This new odor had no effect on normal solitary bees from the area but was highly attractive to another species of wild bee that never visited any of the parent orchid species. (2010-04-21)

Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs
A new study of food-choice behavior in honey bees, published April 1 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, has identified a gene involved in bees' decisions to bring protein or nectar back to the colony. By taking control of the insulin receptor substrate gene, an insulin partner gene in the bees' fat cells, researchers at Arizona State University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences made the insects forego carbohydrates (sugar-containing nectar) and favor protein (pollen). (2010-04-01)

Social bees have bigger brain area for learning, memory: Smithsonian reports
Who's in charge? Who's got food? The brain region responsible for learning and memory is bigger in social bee queens who may have to address these questions than in solitary queens, report scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute who study the tropical sweat bee species, Megalopta genalis, in Panama. Their study is the first comparison of the brain sizes of social and nonsocial individuals of the same species. (2010-03-23)

Females shut down male-male sperm competition in leafcutter ants
Danish researchers who have studied ants at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama since 1992 discovered that in both ant and bee species in which queens have multiple mates, a male's seminal fluid favors the survival of its own sperm over the other males' sperm. However, once sperm has been stored, leafcutter ant queens neutralize male-male sperm competition with glandular secretions in their sperm-storage organ. (2010-03-18)

Bees see super color at super speed
Bees see the world almost five times faster than humans, according to new research from scientists at Queen Mary, University of London. (2010-03-17)

Molecular study could push back angiosperm origins
Flowering plants may be considerably older than previously thought, says a new analysis of the plant family tree. Previous studies suggest that flowering plants, or angiosperms, first arose 140 to 190 million years ago. Now, a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pushes back the age of angiosperms to 215 million years ago, some 25 to 75 million years earlier than either the fossil record or previous molecular studies suggest. (2010-03-15)

Exotic flowers help bees stay busy in winter
Recent years have seen an unusual rise in the number of bees about in the cold winter months. Scientists have found that while most bees are hibernating, the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, is out taking advantage of exotic winter-flowering plants in our gardens and parks. (2010-03-04)

Beewolves protect their offspring with antibiotics
Beewolves house beneficial bacteria on their cocoons that guarantee protection against harmful microorganisms. Scientists have discovered that bacteria of the genus Streptomyces produce a cocktail of nine different antibiotics and thereby fend off invading pathogens. Using imaging techniques based on mass spectrometry, the antibiotics could be displayed on the cocoon's surface. Moreover, it was shown that the use of different kinds of antibiotics provides effective protection against infection with a multitude of different pathogenic microorganisms. (2010-02-28)

Successful genome sequencing of Pea Aphid is a breakthrough for ecology and agricultural research
A special issue of Insect Molecular Biology reports the detailed analyses of specific aspects of the genome of the important plant pest, the Pea Aphid. (2010-02-23)

Pesky aphid thrives despite weak immune system
Pea aphids, expert survivors of the insect world, appear to lack major biological defenses, according to the first genetic analysis of their immune system. (2010-02-22)

Biologist discovers 'stop' signal in honey bee communication
Honey bees warn their nest mates about dangers they encounter while feeding with a special signal that's akin to a (2010-02-11)

Are bees also addicted to caffeine and nicotine?
Bees prefer nectar with small amounts of nicotine and caffeine over nectar that does not comprise these substances at all, a study from the University of Haifa reveals. (2010-02-10)

Bees recognize human faces using feature configuration
Martin Giurfa from the University of Toulouse, France, and Adrian Dyer from Monash University, Australia, have shown that bees can be trained to recognize human faces, so long as the insects are tricked into thinking that the faces are oddly shaped flowers. The insects use the arrangement of facial features to recognize and distinguish one face from another. The Franco-Australian collaboration publishes its discovery on Jan. 29, 2010, in the Journal of Experimental Biology. (2010-01-29)

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