The Latest Buzz on Pollinator Research

As summer enters into full bloom, it’s time to celebrate all the birds, bees, and bugs that make fruits and flowers possible. Find out the latest on pollinator research below as we approach the final days of National Pollinator Week.  

A Call for Better Balance: 

A review of past studies by a team of entomologists shows gaps in our knowledge on floral resource competition between management of honey bees and wild bees. These findings suggest that such interactions call for further research to better inform decisions on honey bee management and pollinator protection. 

Farmers Can “Bee” a Friend to Pollinators:
Pollinators are critical to our food supply as three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on them to reproduce. Through a variety of USDA conservation programs, farmers and ranchers can manage top-notch pollinator habitats while also improving their operations.

Bee Brains and Aggressive Behavior:
Honey bees are incredibly territorial, fighting to the death to defend their hive with painful stings. Biochemists are studying the social behavior in bees to help understand the basis of killer bee aggression.

Bees Join The Zero Club:
Humans’ invention of zero was crucial for modern mathematics and science, but we’re not the only species to consider nothing a number. Honey bees are known to have some numerical skills, such as the capacity to count to four, but researchers took it a step further to see just how sophisticated bee brains are.

Caring for Bees Keeps Your Coffee Coming:
It is common knowledge that pollinators play an immense role in the world’s food supply, but it has been often underestimated just how impactful they are on coffee production. New research helps shed light on their contribution.

Kansas Kids Initiate Effort to Protect Pollinators:
Nearly two dozen Kansas kids are stepping up to increase the odds of survival for the monarch butterfly–an iconic insect that is fluttering toward becoming an endangered species.

Islands Have Returned to Lake LaVerne
Iowa State University isn’t new to the floating island project, but there’s a twist to this year’s graduate program–students will be studying pollinator plant performance in addition to water quality and nutrient uptake.

Unusually Hot Spring Threw Plant Pollinators Out of Sync:
Unusually high spring temperatures in Europe have thrown the ecosystem out of whack. The warm temperatures accelerated the hatch of many butterflies and other pollinating species, but the flowers they depend on for nectar are not responding in sync.

The Monarch’s Stupendous Migration:
This unique comic illustration describes how scientists have worked to understand the monarch migrations and some of what they don’t yet understand.

Why Does Bee Health Matter?
This CAST publication provides a summary of the scientific issues, current research, and recommendations related to bee health. The graphics in this blog highlight other important information covered in this CAST Commentary.

By: Kylie Peterson

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