These are impressively large (2.5cm/1 inch) and awe-inspiring insects particularly attracted locally it seems to Crotolaria flowers. Their name comes from the fact that nearly all species build their nests in burrows in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers aided by their ample mandibles.
Heavily burdened with pollen, this individual was resting in the shade and allowed me a few shots before stirring into life and setting me on my butt as it flew past my ear.
The Neon Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus nitidulus) is a parasitic bee, in the family, found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and SE Asia . It is a stocky bee, notable for its brilliant metallic blue and black banded colors. Like all bees, the neon cuckoo bee is covered by furry branched flattened hair, which is responsible for both the black and blue colours.
The female neon cuckoo bee seeks out the burrow nests of the blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulata), and lays an egg into a partly completed brood cell while it is unguarded. The larval cuckoo bee then consumes the larder and later emerges from the cell…
“Chasing bees: The search for the Western bumblebee”
The declining western bumble bee is one of the focal species of our Project Bumble Bee. Thanks to the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s Future for Wildlife program, Xerces conservation biologist Rich Hatfield was able to find it on Mt. Hood! His discovery was documented by an Oregon Zoo videographer.
Find out more about protecting declining Bumble Bees:
Bees’ health damaged by common agricultural chemicals, researchers find
Previously, researchers did not believe fungicides had a negative effect since they’re not designed to kill insects.
The study, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, is the first to analyze real-world conditions honey bees encounter while pollinating various types of crops.
Researchers from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture collected pollen samples from hives in Delaware all the way to Maine. Samples were analyzed to determine the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals commingled with the pollen. To test their ability to resist Nosema ceranae – a parasite linked to colony collapse disorder – the researchers fed the collected pollen samples to healthy bees
Every sample contained sub-lethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals, with an average of 9 different chemicals being present. One sample containing 21 different pesticides. Fungicide chlorothalonil, a pesticide commony used on apples, and fluvalinate, an insecticide used by beekeepers to control mites, were present most frequently…
In the US, virtually all genetically engineered Bt corn crops are treated with neonicotinoids.
More and more scientists are pointing to neonicotinoids, as being the likely suspect in colony collapse. These insecticides are sprayed on seeds and are highly toxic to bees because they are systemic, water soluble, and pervasive. The pesticide is taken up through the plant’s vascular system, where it’s expressed in the pollen and nectar that the bees collect. It also gets into the soil and groundwater. Neonicotinoids have become the fastest growing insecticides in the world. The disappearance of bee colonies began accelerating in the US shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the makret in the mid-2000s. In the US, virtually all genetically engineered Bt corn crops are treated with neonicotinoids.
The EU has banned three neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) linked to the decline of bees for two years. The ban will apply to all flowering crops, such as corn, rape seed, and sunflowers. The move follows a flood of recent studies, some high-profile, that have linked neonicotinoid pesticides, which employ nicotine-like chemicals, to the widespread decline of bees seen both in Europe and North America.
The ban was first proposed after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report in January that found the scientific evidence pointed to neonicotinoid pesticides as an “unacceptable” threat to bees. Still, the vote on the ban was not unanimous: fifteen nations voted for the ban, eight voted against, and four abstained; but it was a large enough majority that the ban to the European Commission, which has signaled it will implement the ban as early as this summer…
The electric fields that build up on honey bees as they fly, flutter their wings, or rub body parts together may allow the insects to talk to each other, a new study suggests. Tests show that the electric fields, which can be quite strong, deflect the bees’ antennae, which, in turn, provide signals to the brain through specialized organs at their bases.
Scientists have long known that flying insects gain an electrical charge when they buzz around. That charge, typically positive, accumulates as the wings zip through the air—much as electrical charge accumulates on a person shuffling across a carpet. And because an insect’s exoskeleton has a waxy surface that acts as an electrical insulator, that charge isn’t easily dissipated, even when the insect lands on objects, says Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist at the Free University of Berlin in Germany…
Honeybees, like tired office employees, like their caffeine, suggests a new study finding that bees are more likely to remember plants containing the java ingredient.
Caffeine occurs naturally in the nectar of coffee and citrus flowers. Bees that fed on caffeinated nectar were three times more likely to remember a flower’s scent than bees fed sugar alone. The findings, detailed today (March 7) in the journal Science, show how plants can manipulate animals’ memories to improve their odds of pollination…
…is a brightly colored species of parasitic cuckoo bee native to eastern and northern Australia. Like the bird that its genus was named after this species is a brood parasite and is known to invade the nests of other bees (mostly of A. cingulata) and lay an egg which when hatched will feed on all the provisions the other bee left for its young.