Flower preferences of male, female bees


This 2015 video says about itself:

Carpenter bees (the genus Xylocopa in the subfamily Xylocopinae) are large bees distributed worldwide. Some 500 species of carpenter bees are in the 31 subgenera.

Their common name is because nearly all species build their nests in burrows in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers (except those in the subgenus Proxylocopa, which nest in the ground).

Carpenter bees are traditionally considered solitary bees, though some species have simple social nests in which mothers and daughters may cohabit. However, even solitary species tend to be gregarious, and often several nest near each other. When females cohabit, a division of labor between them occurs sometimes, where one female may spend most of her time as a guard within the nest, motionless and near the entrance, while another female spends most of her time foraging for provisions.

From Rutgers University in the USA:

With flower preferences, bees have a big gap between the sexes

Female and male bees of the same species frequent different flowers, study finds

April 24, 2019

For scores of wild bee species, females and males visit very different flowers for food — a discovery that could be important for conservation efforts, according to Rutgers-led research.

Indeed, the diets of female and male bees of the same species could be as different as the diets of different bee species, according to a study in the journal PLOS ONE.

“As we get a better sense of what makes flowers attractive to different kinds of bees, maybe we can get smarter about bee conservation,” said lead author Michael Roswell, a doctoral student in the lab of senior author Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Five years ago, when Winfree Lab members were evaluating federally funded programs to create habitat for pollinators, Roswell noticed that some flowers were very popular with male bees and others with females. That spurred a study to test, for as many wild bee species as possible, whether males and females visit different kinds of flowers.

New Jersey is home to about 400 species of wild bees — not including Apis mellifera Linnaeus, the domesticated western honeybee whose males do not forage for food, Roswell noted.

The scientists collected 18,698 bees from 152 species in New Jersey. The bees visited 109 flower species in six semi-natural meadows with highly abundant and diverse flowers. The meadows were managed to promote mostly native flowers that attract pollinators.

Female bees build, maintain, collect food for and defend nests, while male bees primarily seek mates. Both sexes drink floral nectar for food, but only females collect pollen that serves as food for young bees, so they forage at greater rates than males.

From the flowers’ standpoint, both female and male bees are important pollinators — though female bees are more prolific because they spend more time foraging at flowers.

Before mating, the males of some species travel from the area where they were born. Targeting their preferences for flowers may help maintain genetically diverse bee populations, Roswell speculated.

“We see some intriguing patterns, where certain plant families seem relatively preferred or avoided by male bees, or where males have relatively less appetite for visiting flowers that only produce pollen and not nectar,” he said. “That could help pinpoint the right mix of flowers to improve bee conservation down the road.”

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Giant honey bee colony buzzing in sync


This 16 April 2019 video says about itself:

Massive Bee Colony Buzzing In Sync To Scare Off Predators | BBC Earth

These giant bees buzzing create spectacular waves.

Wild bees, forest fires in Oregon, USA


This 2014 video from the USA says about itself:

Mason Bees Micro Documentary

Dave Hunter gets us started in this video about Mason Bees. Famous for using little bits of mud in tubes to store their eggs, Dave tells us about how Mason Bees compare to Honey Bees. He covers both the male and female bee habits, complete with mating.

Dave shows us the cocoon for leaf cutter bees too.

Dave talks about a variety of different sorts of tubes for the Mason Bees to lay their eggs in. Soemtimes reeds, sometimes straw size cardboard tubes. Dave has some experiments going with corrugated cardboard. Mason Bees eat pollen and nectar. And they are pretty picky about what sort of flower is their food source. So they come out just in time for the blooming of their favorite foods, mate, lay eggs and die in a short span of time.

Jen Davis, in Portland, Oregon shares with us how she manages her Mason Bees. She wants to help the Mason Bees reproduce quickly. So she puts out lots of straws for the bees and checks for possible problems. She keeps the cocoons in her refrigerator until the time is right to bring them out.

Dave helps us understand the difference between Honey Bees and Mason Bees. My philosophy is that Honey Bees will efficiently process each flower. While Mason Bees will haphazardly pop from flower to flower without completely “processing” any one flower. The upside of this is that one mason bee will pollinate 100 time more flowers than a honey bee.

From Oregon State University in the USA:

Wild bees flock to forested areas affected by severe fire

April 3, 2019

A groundbreaking two-year study in southern Oregon found greater abundance and diversity of wild bees in areas that experienced moderate and severe forest fires compared to areas with low-severity fires.

The study, published today in the journal Ecosphere by researchers in the Oregon State University College of Forestry, is the first to demonstrate that wildfire severity is a strong predictor of bee diversity in mixed-conifer forest.

Bees are the most important among the Earth’s pollinators, which combine for an estimated $100 billion in global economic impact each year. Oregon is home to more than 500 species of native bees.

Animal pollinators enhance the reproduction of nearly 90 percent of the Earth’s flowering plants, including many food crops.

The pollinators are an essential component of insect and plant biodiversity. Bees are the standard bearer because they’re usually present in the greatest numbers and because they’re the only pollinator group that feeds exclusively on nectar and pollen their entire life.

Scientists led by OSU forest wildlife ecologist Jim Rivers in 2016 began trapping bees at 43 sites in forests burned by the 2013 Douglas Complex fire that scorched nearly 50,000 acres north of Grants Pass.

They collected bees with blue-vane traps, which attract the insects by reflecting ultraviolet light, and used satellite imagery to determine fire severity.

“Twenty times more individuals and 11 times more species were captured in areas that experienced high fire severity relative to areas with the lowest fire severity,” said Sara M. Galbraith, a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Forestry. “We detected a large number of bees in recently burned forest patches. The bees represented five families and a large subset of Oregon’s wild bee species.”

At low-severity sites, flames were mostly confined to low-growing vegetation.

“If you weren’t looking for the markers of fire, in the low-severity spots you wouldn’t know that they had burned,” Galbraith said. “The canopy is more closed, and there wasn’t a lot of visible evidence of fire except for blackened areas on the tree trunks.”

In contrast, some of the high-severity sites had a completely open canopy.

“There were many more flowering plants in the understory because the light limitation was gone,” she said. “The flowering plants and another critical habitat component for maintaining bee populations -boring insect exit holes used by cavity-nesting bees — both increased with fire severity.”

And the two most abundant genera among the trapped bees, Bombus (bumblebee species) and Halictus (sweat bee species), each responded positively to high fire severity despite having different foraging ranges.

“This research adds to the evidence that there is high biodiversity in early seral forests — the beginning stages of forest development — and moving forward, the amount and location of this habitat could have an impact on services like pollination in the landscape overall,” she said. “Half of Oregon is forested, yet we know very little about bees in forests, especially managed conifer forests. With this fundamental information, we can begin to understand the best management actions that can promote pollinator populations within managed forests.”

Previous studies primarily just considered, “did it burn or didn’t it burn?'” Galbraith said.

“Our study took into account the mosaic of habitats that you find after fires in many regions of the world,” she said. “We found that burn severity is really useful for predicting where the bee habitat will be after a fire. It makes sense that some organisms would have evolved to do well after severe burning in this fire-adapted landscape.”

The Bureau of Land Management and the College of Forestry supported this research.

Wallace’s giant bee rediscovered


This 21 February 2019 video says about itself:

Watch the world’s biggest bee in action | Science News

After searching Indonesia’s forests for days for Wallace’s giant bee, scientists found and captured a single female and observed her flying within a net tent. They then released her and watched as she flew home to her nest in a termite mound.

By Jeremy Rehm, 2:31pm, February 21, 2019:

The world’s largest bee has been rediscovered after 38 years

The walnut-sized female bee was found on an island in Indonesia

Everything about Wallace’s giant bee is goliath: It reaches an average body length of around 4 centimeters — about the size of a walnut — and has a wingspan of over 7.5 centimeters. Yet despite its eye-popping size, it’s been nearly 40 years since the world’s largest bee (Megachile pluto) was officially sighted in the wild.

So when Eli Wyman, an entomologist at Princeton University, had an opportunity to hunt for the elusive bee, he jumped at the chance. He and two other scientists, along with photographer Clay Bolt, set off in January for a two-week expedition to forests on two of only three Indonesian islands where the bee has ever been found.

It’s thought that the females build a home by using their formidable jaws to burrow into termite nests and line the tunnels with resin to ward off termites. So while trekking in the oppressive jungle heat, the team stopped at every termite nest spotted on the trunk of a tree and watched for 20 minutes for a telltale bore hole or a bee emerging.

“After several days of searching and looking at a lot of these termite nests and not seeing anything, I think we all kind of internally just accepted that we weren’t going to be successful,” Wyman says.

As the search was ending, the team decided to check one last nest only about 2.4 meters off the ground — and found the signature hole. Wyman, standing on a small platform, glanced inside and tapped the hole a few times with a stiff blade of grass. Moments later, a lone female Wallace’s giant bee emerged.

“We were just all over the moon,” Wyman says. “It was a great relief and incredibly exciting.”

The team captured the female and put her inside a tented enclosure to observe her before releasing her back to her nest. She buzzed and opened and closed her enormous jaws. And yes, she had a stinger to match her goliath size, one she presumably uses, though Wyman wasn’t willing to find that out firsthand. “She was the most precious thing on the planet to us,” Wyman says.

The nonprofit organization Global Wildlife Conservation, which included Wallace’s giant bee on its 25 Most Wanted lost species list, announced the bee’s rediscovery February 21. While there are no set plans to look for more bees, the team hopes the rediscovery sparks efforts to protect the habitat from deforestation. In a blogpost, Bolt noted: “Just knowing that this bee’s giant wings go thrumming through this ancient Indonesian forest helps me feel that, in a world of so much loss, hope and wonder still do exist.”

GOLIATH OF BEES A honeybee’s size pales in comparison to that of a the recently rediscovered Wallace’s giant bee, as seen in this composite image by Clay Bolt