Birds, bees, butterflies, pollination in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

3 September 2016

We could not survive on earth without pollination. Relax and contemplate an hour of a pollination frenzy of bees and butterflies in a stand of freshly blooming Devil’s Walking Stick trees near the edge of a forest high in the Great Smoky Mountains. Despite the evil name, this rare native plant is an important source of nutrients for bees and butterflies in August and the birds go crazy for the ripe tasty purple berry fruit in September.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Devil’s Walking Stick trees (Aralia spinosa) provide a bounty of purple berries in early fall that is a feast for birds such as American Robins, Dark Eyed Juncos, Warblers and Eastern Towhees. You’ll hear many other birds calling in the background. This is a great native plant (Eastern U.S.) to develop in the yard for bird lovers especially at a transition from grass to forest.

Solitary bee hives in England

This video from England says about itself:

Solitary Bee Hives

9 May 2016

Solitary Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem.

This video demonstrates how to accommodate these Bees into your garden.

A range of products, including these hives can be found at our shop.

Garden bumblebee video

This 11 July 2016 video shows a garden bumblebee on heathland near Ede town in the Veluwe region in the Netherlands.

Bumblebees and flowers, new research

This video says about itself:

Researchers Figure Out How Bees Pick Up Messages Flowers Are Sending

31 May 2016

According to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol, bees’ hairs alert to them to the electromagnetic signals flowers are sending.

Bumblebees and flowers clearly have a very close relationship, but what has remained largely a mystery is how they communicate with one another. Though scientists have known for some time that blooms send electric signals, determining how the buzzing pollinators detect them has remained elusive.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol, it all comes down to the bees’ hairs. When the fuzzy little flyers are in the presence of flower signals, their hairs deflect and move at a quickened pace. Further study revealed the hairs appear to be the only floral alert signal recognized by the bee nervous system. Discovering this means of electroreception could aid in the understanding of other small creatures as well. Said one of the researchers, “A lot of insects have similar body hairs, which leads to the possibility that many members the insect world may be equally sensitive to small electric fields.”

From Bristol University in England:

Dancing hairs alert bees to floral electric fields

Press release issued: 30 May 2016

Tiny, vibrating hairs may explain how bumblebees sense and interpret the signals transmitted by flowers, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol.

Although it’s known that flowers communicate with pollinators by sending out electric signals, just how bees detects these fields has been a mystery – until now.

Using a laser to measure vibrations, researchers found that both the bees’ antenna and hairs deflect in response to an electric field, but the hairs move more rapidly and with overall greater displacements.

Researchers then looked at the bees’ nervous system, finding that only the hairs alerted the bees’ nervous system to this signal.

The findings, published in the international journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) today, suggest that electroreception in insects may be widespread.

Electroreception may arise from the bees’ hairs being lightweight and stiff, properties that confer a rigid, lever-like motion similar to acoustically sensitive spider hairs and mosquito antennae.

Dr Gregory Sutton, a Research Fellow in the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, led the research. He said: “We were excited to discover that bees’ tiny hairs dance in response to electric fields, like when humans hold a balloon to their hair. A lot of insects have similar body hairs, which leads to the possibility that many members the insect world may be equally sensitive to small electric fields.”

Scientists are particularly interested in understanding how floral signals are perceived, received and acted upon by bees as they are critical pollinators of our crops.

Research into these relationships has revealed the co-evolution of flowers and their pollinators, and has led to the unravelling of this important network which keeps our planet green.

Electroreception is common in aquatic mammals. For example, sharks [not mammals] are equipped with sensitive, jelly-filled receptors that detect fluctuations in electric fields in seawater which helps them to home in on their prey.

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The Royal Society.


Mechanosensory hairs in bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) detect weak electric fields’ by G. P. Sutton, D. Clarke, E. L. Morley, and D. Robert in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Bee and mites, video

This video shows a male red mason bee. He has many mites on his back. During mating, the mites will transfer to the female bee; in order to land in the nest, where they will eat waste.

Jelle Talsma in the Netherlands made this video.

Large carpenter bee video

This video from the USA says about itself:

14 May 2016

A Large loud female Carpenter Bee is looking for a place to start a nest in wood. They generally avoid treated deck lumber as in this case, but they spend considerable amount of time looking. She does a nice little dance in the process. Only the female can sting, but generally they are very “friendly” bees and tolerate me taking video just a few inches away and often hover near people with no ill will intended, just curious. The problem is they make nests by tunneling into wood, however I have never had them do any damage to houses etc. as their numbers appear small. Often people trap and kill them, but another option is to make or buy houses for them and see if they will adopt them, they are after all native bees and are by nature excellent pollinators.

In America north of Mexico, the subfamily Xylocopinae is composed of two genera, Ceratina (small carpenter bees) and Xylocopa (large carpenter bees). These bees get their common name from their nesting habits: small carpenter bees excavate tunnels in pithy stems of various bushes; large carpenter bees chew nesting galleries in solid wood or in stumps, logs, or dead branches of trees (Hurd and Moure 1963).