Have you ever seen a baby bee? Unlikely, as encased deep inside a beehive, bees use honeycombs to store pollen, honey, and incubate their eggs, larvae, and pupae. Photographer Anand Varma carefully created a temporary mini-beehive in his outdoor workshop to reveal the secret lives of bees.
A single Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) can kill forty honeybees a minute. A small group of them can decimate an entire bee colony. The hornet’s scissor-like teeth can wreak havoc on their prey so swiftly that Japanese honeybees had to adapt to survive.
The phrase “as busy as a bee” exists for a reason. In order to produce a pound of honey, over 750 bees must log over 55,000 miles in flight. During this extensive flight to visit over 2 million flowers to collect nectar, the bees also pollinate the plants that make 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat. Their buzzing sound is created by their wings flapping around 11,400 times every minute.
For a short period each spring, bees in certain parts of the world add a little extra ingredient to their honey, giving it a trippy twist. By gathering nectar from the rhododendrons that come into bloom at this time of year, they infuse their sugary produce with certain toxins that cause a range of interesting effects when ingested by humans.
A new genetic study of wild honey bees living in forests near Ithaca, New York, sheds light on how they rapidly evolved resistance in response to the deadly parasitic mite Varroa destructor. The mite, originally from Asia, has been implicated in causing the deaths of millions of bee colonies across North America and Europe, and yet the population in Ithaca is still going strong, despite being infected with the parasite in the mid-1990s.
It’s bee season and now’s the time to go outside and observe these popular insects. Bees hold a relatively special place in people’s affections – we have them to thank for honey, of course, and they’re also essential pollinators of many food crops and wild plants. But most bees aren’t the snazzy hive-dwelling orange and black characters we know so well. In fact, there are around 20,000 species of bee globally and just seven of these are honeybees, and the vast majority of honeybee colonies belon
Many people still choose not to vaccinate their children, but it seems that bees don’t have a choice. Every bee that hatches is already primed with the immunity to fight the bacteria that it will likely encounter when it eventually leaves the hive to forage for nectar and pollen. Researchers looking into how the insects manage this have finally worked it out.
Search for information on ‘self-medication,’ and you’ll likely find descriptions of the myriad ways that we humans use drugs to solve problems. In fact, the consumption of biologically active molecules — many of which come from plants — to change our bodies and minds seems a quintessentially human trait.
As global commerce grows, the movement of goods is occurring at ever-faster rates. And with increased global trade comes the spread of non-native species. This includes invasive insects that are making life difficult for domestic bees. Non-native species get introduced both intentionally and accidentally. However they migrate, though, their spread can lead to devastating results. Non-native species can dramatically reshape their invaded habitats and disrupt the interactions between native specie
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