Photographer begins epic journey to photograph our nation’s struggling bees
Photographer Clay Bolt is rolling out a huge project, traveling across the United States documenting the state of the nation’s bees, including the species responsible for pollinating our most popular crops.
by Jaymi Haimbuch
Clay Bolt is first and foremost a nature junkie, with a special interest in the more creepy crawly species of our planet. He is also a talented photographer, a fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a founder of Meet Your Neighbours, a worldwide photography project to reconnect people with their local wildlife. Knowing this, it might seem like it was just a matter of time before his latest project was hatched.
Bolt is traveling around the nation documenting North America’s native bees. As we all well know, bees are the most important pollinators of our food crops and yet they are in the midst of a terrifying decline. Bolt’s project will document what’s happening to the species that pollinate our most popular food crops. He talked with us more about his subject, and his upcoming epic trek…

(read more: Mother Nature Network)

Photographer begins epic journey to photograph our nation’s struggling bees

Photographer Clay Bolt is rolling out a huge project, traveling across the United States documenting the state of the nation’s bees, including the species responsible for pollinating our most popular crops.

by Jaymi Haimbuch

Clay Bolt is first and foremost a nature junkie, with a special interest in the more creepy crawly species of our planet. He is also a talented photographer, a fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a founder of Meet Your Neighbours, a worldwide photography project to reconnect people with their local wildlife. Knowing this, it might seem like it was just a matter of time before his latest project was hatched.

Bolt is traveling around the nation documenting North America’s native bees. As we all well know, bees are the most important pollinators of our food crops and yet they are in the midst of a terrifying decline. Bolt’s project will document what’s happening to the species that pollinate our most popular food crops. He talked with us more about his subject, and his upcoming epic trek…

bbsrc

bbsrc:

Bee tongue

A bee extends its proboscis in response to flower scent. It’s part of the bee’s ‘memory test’ in experiments to determine if pesticides are harming them.

Video: Geraldine Wright.

The study is part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative, joint-funded by the BBSRC and other partners.

http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2013/130327-pr-pesticide-combination-affects-bees.aspx

bbsrc

bbsrc:

The Urban Pollinators Project

Pollinators such as the Common Blue butterfly and Early-nesting Bumblebee, which are shown in these images, play a vital role in maintaining our food supplies. But like many others, these species are struggling in the UK countryside.  

UK apples, strawberries, raspberries, beans and tomatoes are all reliant on insect pollinators. Globally, crop pollination services are estimated to be worth $153 billion per year. Understanding the influences that the landscape and other environmental factors can have on our pollinators is therefore of huge importance.

The Urban Pollinators Project, led by scientists at the University of Bristol, is studying how effective our towns and cities are for our bees and other pollinators. 

A staggering 98% of the country’s flower-rich meadows have been lost since the end of the Second World War but gardens, allotments and other flower-rich habitats in urban areas could provide a haven for these important insects.

In Bristol, Leeds, Reading and Edinburgh, city-wide surveys of pollinators, together with 60 pollen- and nectar-rich flowering meadows are helping our pollinators flourish. 

Read more on this topic at the project website: www.urbanpollinators.org

and blog: http://urbanpollinators.blogspot.co.uk/

For more BBSRC research on pollinators go to: ht.ly/tOmAb

Copyright: Jane Memmott from the Pollinators Project

bbsrc

bbsrc:

BEEHAVE

Scientists have created an ingenious computer model that mimics a honey bee colony over the course of several years. The BEEHAVE model was created to investigate the losses of honeybee colonies in recent years and to identify the best course of action for improving honeybee health.

A team of scientists, led by Professor Juliet Osborne from the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter (and previously at Rothamsted Research), developed BEEHAVE, which simulates the life of a colony including the queen’s egg laying, brood care by nurse bees and foragers collecting nectar and pollen in a realistic landscape.

To build the simulation, the scientists brought together existing honeybee research and data to develop a new model that integrated processes occurring inside and outside the hive. The model allows researchers, beekeepers and anyone interested in bees, to predict colony development and honey production under different environmental conditions and beekeeping practices.  

Try it out at:  www.beehave-model.net.   

BBSRC funds lots of research to help us understand bee health because they are vital for pollinating many food crops.

For more BBSRC bee research visit: http://tmblr.co/ZtJ7bq17_I-_W

Images from Peter Kennedy at the University of Exeter.

 

Bumblebees Capable of Flying Higher Than Mt. Everest
by Lizzie Wade
The last thing you’d expect to see out your airplane window is a bumblebee cruising by. But a new study suggests that the insects might be capable of such high-altitude jaunts.
Researchers trapped six male bumblebees (pictured) living at an altitude of 3250 meters in Sichuan, China, and placed them, one at a time, in a plexiglass flight chamber. Then they slowly pumped air out of the box, simulating the atmospheric conditions at higher and higher altitudes. Impressively, only one bee failed to fly above 8000 meters, and two even remained airborne above 9000 meters—more than 100 meters higher than the peak of Mount Everest…
(read more: Science News/AAAS)
image: Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia Commons

Bumblebees Capable of Flying Higher Than Mt. Everest

by Lizzie Wade

The last thing you’d expect to see out your airplane window is a bumblebee cruising by. But a new study suggests that the insects might be capable of such high-altitude jaunts.

Researchers trapped six male bumblebees (pictured) living at an altitude of 3250 meters in Sichuan, China, and placed them, one at a time, in a plexiglass flight chamber. Then they slowly pumped air out of the box, simulating the atmospheric conditions at higher and higher altitudes. Impressively, only one bee failed to fly above 8000 meters, and two even remained airborne above 9000 meters—more than 100 meters higher than the peak of Mount Everest…

(read more: Science News/AAAS)

image: Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia Commons

Tiny Hairs on Honey Bee Claws Allow them to Taste Sugar and Salt
New research on the ability of honey bees to taste with claws on their forelegs reveals details on how this information is processed, according to a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
Insects taste through sensilla, hair-like structures on the body that contain receptor nerve cells, each of which is sensitive to a particular substance. In many insects, for example the honey bee, sensilla are found on the mouthparts, antenna and the tarsi — the end part of the legs. Honey bees weigh information from both front tarsi to decide whether to feed, finds the latest study…
(read more: Entomology Today)
Photo by de Brito Sanchez et al.

Tiny Hairs on Honey Bee Claws Allow them to Taste Sugar and Salt

New research on the ability of honey bees to taste with claws on their forelegs reveals details on how this information is processed, according to a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Insects taste through sensilla, hair-like structures on the body that contain receptor nerve cells, each of which is sensitive to a particular substance. In many insects, for example the honey bee, sensilla are found on the mouthparts, antenna and the tarsi — the end part of the legs. Honey bees weigh information from both front tarsi to decide whether to feed, finds the latest study…

(read more: Entomology Today)

Photo by de Brito Sanchez et al.

TAKE ACTION: Honey Bees in Danger!
Scientists believe a type of insecticide, Neonicotinoids, can cause the collapse of honeybee populations – creatures vital to ecosystems and economies alike. But the EPA has registered another of these poisons for use! We’re joining other groups to challenge that decision in court. Join us and let you voice be heard on behalf of Honey Bees: 
Defenders of Wildlife

TAKE ACTION: Honey Bees in Danger!

Scientists believe a type of insecticide, Neonicotinoids, can cause the collapse of honeybee populations – creatures vital to ecosystems and economies alike. But the EPA has registered another of these poisons for use! We’re joining other groups to challenge that decision in court. Join us and let you voice be heard on behalf of Honey Bees:

Defenders of Wildlife

Bee ID - Australia:
Hey! I spotted these guys clinging to my lavender in the rain in Sydney, Aus, and wasn’t quite sure what they were - I know they’re a bee but can’t recall what kind - possibly green and gold nomia? Hopefully you can help me out a bit! Thanks! :)
Paxon:
I agree that they’re Nomia bees (Lipotriches sp.), but unfortunately, I’m not expert in Australian bees. I do also think they look a lot like Lipotriches australica. They are certainly behaving like them. You might check with the following people…
http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_bees/HALICTIDAE.htm
http://www.aussiebee.com.au
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Nomia-bees

Bee ID - Australia:

Hey! I spotted these guys clinging to my lavender in the rain in Sydney, Aus, and wasn’t quite sure what they were - I know they’re a bee but can’t recall what kind - possibly green and gold nomia? Hopefully you can help me out a bit! Thanks! :)

Paxon:

I agree that they’re Nomia bees (Lipotriches sp.), but unfortunately, I’m not expert in Australian bees. I do also think they look a lot like Lipotriches australica. They are certainly behaving like them. You might check with the following people…

http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_bees/HALICTIDAE.htm

http://www.aussiebee.com.au

http://australianmuseum.net.au/Nomia-bees

Insect Queens of Sex
by Ian Randall
Worker insects spend their existence tending to the every need of their queens—even giving up their sex lives. But why are queens the only ones allowed to reproduce?
The answer lies in pheromones—chemical signals, produced by queens, which workers react to. To further investigate the means behind this reproductive control, researchers looked at the chemicals produced by the queens of three social insects: the buff-tailed bumblebee, the common wasp (pictured), and the desert ant.
Once identified, the scientists tested the potential pheromones on isolated workers to see if they prevented reproduction. In all three species, similarly structured alkanes (a type of carbon-based compound) limited the development of the workers’ ovaries, the researchers report online today in Science…
(read more: Science News/AAAS)
photo: Ricardo Caliari Oliveira

Insect Queens of Sex

by Ian Randall

Worker insects spend their existence tending to the every need of their queens—even giving up their sex lives. But why are queens the only ones allowed to reproduce?

The answer lies in pheromones—chemical signals, produced by queens, which workers react to. To further investigate the means behind this reproductive control, researchers looked at the chemicals produced by the queens of three social insects: the buff-tailed bumblebee, the common wasp (pictured), and the desert ant.

Once identified, the scientists tested the potential pheromones on isolated workers to see if they prevented reproduction. In all three species, similarly structured alkanes (a type of carbon-based compound) limited the development of the workers’ ovaries, the researchers report online today in Science

(read more: Science News/AAAS)

photo: Ricardo Caliari Oliveira

sinobug
sinobug:

Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp)
family Apidae) 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.   by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr. Pu’er, Yunnan, China  See more Chinese Hymenopterans (wasps, hornets, bees, ants and sawflies) on my Flickr site HERE…

sinobug:

Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp)

family Apidae)

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.

Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp., Apidae)

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese Hymenopterans (wasps, hornets, bees, ants and sawflies) on my Flickr site HERE

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…

(read more: Encyclopedia of Life)

photos: T - John Tann; B - Louise Docker

“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:

http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/

http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/guidelines/