Bear Wasps of the Middle Kingdom: A Decade of Discovering China’s Bumble Bees

By Paul H. Williams, Jiaxing Huang, and Jiandong An Bumble bees are well known for being among the most important pollinators in the world’s north-temperate regions. Perhaps more surprisingly, half of the world’s bumble bee species are concentrated in just one country, China. With an area only slightly smaller than the U.S., China has almost […]

The Commercial Bumble Bee Industry May Have Helped Spread Nosema to Wild Bee Populations

When most people think about bee pollinators in U.S. agriculture, they probably think of honey bees. However, bumble bees can also be used, especially in green houses where crops like tomatoes or peppers are grown. In fact, several companies sell bumble bee hives through the mail. In the late 1990s, populations of the western bumble […]

Radio Tagging Bumble Bees to Figure Out What the Buzz Is All About

By Jeremy Hemberger Bees are on a lot of folk’s minds these days, and for good reason. They provide pollination services to over 70% of the crops worldwide, helping to get us the delicious and nutritious foods that we love, like apples, cucumbers, cherries, berries, and more. Despite their importance across the planet, they’ve taken […]

Nicotine and Other Natural Chemicals Protect Bees from Parasites

Bumble bees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a new study shows. The findings, soon to be published in the journal Ecology, suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline of bee species. The researchers previously found in lab studies that nectar […]

Study Finds Very Few Wild Bee Species Pollinate Major Crops

A major international study finds that surprisingly few bee species are responsible for pollinating the world’s crops. The paper, published in Nature Communications, suggests that only two percent of wild bee species pollinate 80 percent of bee-pollinated crops worldwide. The study is one of the largest on bee pollination to date. While agricultural development and […]