Bigger = better: Big bees fly better in hotter temps than smaller ones do

New research provides a lesson in bee physiology and flies in the face of the temperature-size ‘rule’ Arizona State University researchers have found that larger tropical stingless bee species fly better in hot conditions than smaller bees do. Larger size may help certain bee species better tolerate high body temperatures. The findings run contrary to the well-established temperature-size “rule,” which suggests that ectotherms insects that rely on the external environment to control their temperature are larger in cold climates and smaller in hot ones. The research will be presented today…

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Bee diversity and richness decline as anthropogenic activity increases, scientists confirm

Changes in land use negatively affect bee species richness and diversity, and cause major shifts in species composition, reports a recent study of native wild bees, conducted at the Sierra de Quila Flora and Fauna Protection Area and its influence zone in Mexico. Having registered a total of 14,054 individual bees representing 160 species, 52 genera, and five families over the span of a year, the scientists conclude that the studied preserved areas demonstrated “significantly greater” richness and diversity. In their paper, published in the open-access Journal of Hymenoptera Research,…

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Bees use invisible heat patterns to choose flowers

                             Floral heat patterns from rock rose.  Credit: University of Bristol A new study, led by scientists from the University of Bristol, has found that a wide range of flowers produce not just signals that we can see and smell, but also ones that are invisible such as heat. In the hidden world of flower-pollinator interactions, heat can act not only as life-sustaining warmth, but can also be part of the rich variety of sensory signposts that flowers…

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Radar tracking reveals how bees develop a route between flowers

A bumblebee eats a food reward presented on an artificial flower. Five such feeders each contain 1/5 of the amount required to fill her up and the bee must learn a route to take her to all five. Visible in the background are a Landrover from which researchers monitor the harmonic radar and a shed which contains the bee’s nest. Credit: Joseph Woodgate As bees gain foraging experience they continually refine both the order in which they visit flowers and the flight paths they take between flowers to generate better…

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Tiny bees play big part in secret sex lives of trees

This map shows how bees carried pollen from numerous father trees to a specific mother tree, often traveling from more than two kilometers away. University of Texas at Austin researchers analyzed seeds and genetic markers in trees to determine which bees carried pollen from where. Credit: The University of Texas at Austin When it comes to sex between plants, tiny bees the size of ladybugs play a critical role in promoting long-distance pairings. That’s what scientists at The University of Texas at Austin discovered after one of the most detailed…

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