Pesticides may cause bumble bees to lose their buzz, study finds

Pesticides significantly reduce the number of pollen grains a bumblebee is able to collect, a new University of Stirling study has found. The research, conducted by a team in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, found that field-realistic doses of a neonicotinoid pesticide affects the behaviour of bees ultimately interfering with the type of vibrations they produce while collecting pollen. Dr Penelope Whitehorn, the University of Stirling Research Fellow who led the research, said: “Our result is the first to demonstrate quantitative changes in the type of buzzes produced by bees…

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Disease-resistant apples perform better than old favorites

WineCrisp apples. New disease-resistant apples appear to perform better than some old favorites. Credit: David Riecks, University of Illinois You may not find them in the produce aisle yet, but it’s only a matter of time before new disease-resistant apple cultivars overtake favorites like Honeycrisp in popularity, according to a University of Illinois apple expert. “I know everyone wants Honeycrisp, but they’re notoriously hard to grow. There are so many issues in producing the fruit: the tree might produce a lot one year, but none the next; the fruit doesn’t…

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Flower attracts insects by pretending to be a mushroom

Aspidistra elatior flowers blooming half-buried in the earth. Credit: Image courtesy of Kobe University The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior has the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms. This discovery was made by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of…

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How to keep cows happy

Brazilian study shows how small changes on farms can lower stress levels of cattle   Story Source: Materials provided by Springer. Corrals are used on livestock farms around the world to round up the animals when they need to be weighed or vaccinated. New research now shows that removing splashes of colors, shadows or water puddles from corrals, keeping noise levels down and not using dogs and electric prods can dramatically reduce the stress cattle experience. Maria Lúcia Pereira Lima of the Instituto de Zootecnia Sertãozinho in Brazil is the…

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Mushrooms are full of antioxidants that may have antiaging potential

Robert Beelman is Professor Emeritus of Food Science at Penn State and Director of the Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. Credit: Patrick Mansell Story Source: Materials provided by Penn State. Mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants that some scientists suggest could help fight aging and bolster health, according to a team of Penn State researchers. In a study, researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of the ergothioneine and glutathione, both important antioxidants, said Robert Beelman, professor emeritus of food science and director of…

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