In June 2013, a pesticide application on ornamental trees in a shopping-center parking lot in Wilsonville, Oregon, led to the largest documented mass fatality of bumble bees in North America. A new analysis of the incident estimates more than 100,000 bees from nearly 600 colonies were killed, which researchers cite as a cautionary tale about the dangers of pesticides to native bee populations.
A new study has mounted perhaps the most intricate, detailed look ever at the diversity in structure and form of bees, offering new insights in a long-standing debate over how complex social behaviors arose in certain branches of bees' evolutionary tree. The report offers strong evidence that complex social behavior developed just once in pollen-carrying bees, rather than twice or more, separately, in different evolutionary branches—but researchers say the case is far from closed.
Researchers have synonymized the bumble bee species Bombus fernaldae with Bombus flavidus, establishing the latter, a cuckoo that parasitizes other bumble bee colonies, as the most broadly distributed bumble bee species of any kind in the world.
A new study finds that reduced water availability—even if not quite drought conditions—lessens the quality of floral resources for honey bees and bumble bees, in turn negatively affecting their survival and reproduction rates.
Research in the Sierra Nevada region of California illustrates the varying flower choices of bumble bees: The five most common bumble bee species studied each selected a different assortment of flowers, and each selected at least one flower species not selected by the others. The findings are already being put to use in forest restoration efforts to increase and improve quality of bumble bee habitat.