Ant carrying bee, video


In this video, an ant carries a dead, much bigger, Andrena vaga mining bee to its anthill.

Matthijs Herremans in the Netherlands made this video.

European wild bee species threatened


This video says about itself:

Olivia’s Wild Bees

21 August 2007

A young American biologist studies wild bees on the island of Lesvos, Greece. She explains her work and the bees’ role in nature.

From Wildlife Extra:

One in 10 bee species faces extinction

The first-ever assessment of all European wild bee species shows that 9.2% are threatened with extinction, while 5.2% are considered likely to be threatened in the near future.

A total of 56.7% of the species are classified as Data Deficient, as lack of experts, data and funding has made it impossible to evaluate their extinction risk.

The assessment was published as part of The IUCN European Red List of Bees and the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, both funded by the European Commission.

It provides – for the first time – information on all 1,965 wild bee species in Europe, including their status, distribution, population trends and threats.

“This assessment is the best understanding we have had so far on wild bees in Europe,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director, IUCN Global Species Programme. “However, our knowledge about them is incomplete as we are faced with an alarming lack of expertise and resources.

“Bees play an essential role in the pollination of our crops. We must urgently invest in further research in order to provide the best possible recommendations on how to reverse their decline.”

The report shows that 7.7% of the species have declining populations, 12.6% are stable and 0.7% are increasing. Population trends for the remaining 79% of bee species are unknown.

Changing agricultural practices and increased farming intensification have led to large-scale losses and degradation of bee habitats – one of the main threats to their survival.

For instance, intensive silage production – at the expense of hay-cropping – causes losses of herb-rich grasslands and season-long flowering, which constitute important sources of forage for pollinators.

The widespread use of insecticides also harms wild bees and herbicides reduce the availability of flowers on which they depend. The use of fertilisers promotes rank grassland, which is low in flowering plants and legume species – the preferred food resources for many bee species.

Intensive agriculture and farming practices have caused a sharp decline in the surface area of dry steppes, which house the Vulnerable Andrena transitoria bee – a formerly common eastern Mediterranean species that spreads from Sicily to Ukraine and into Central Asia.

Ploughing, mowing or grazing of flowering plants, as well as the use of insecticides have led to a 30% population decline of the species over the last decade, and its extinction in certain countries.

Climate change is another important driver of extinction risk for most species of bees, and particularly bumblebees.

Heavy rainfalls, droughts, heat waves and increased temperatures can alter the habitats that individual species are adapted to and are expected to dramatically reduce the area of its habitat, leading to population decline.

A total of 25.8% of Europe’s bumblebee species are threatened with extinction, according to the assessment.

Urban development and the increased frequency of fires also threaten the survival of wild bee species in Europe, according to the experts.

The report also includes an assessment of the Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera) – the most well-known pollinator. The Western Honeybee has a native distribution through much of Europe but it is uncertain whether it currently occurs as a truly wild, rather than domesticated species.

As the Red List only covers wild – not domesticated – species, it has been assessed as Data Deficient. Further research is needed to distinguish between wild and non-wild colonies, and to better understand the impacts of malnutrition, pesticides and pathogens on honeybee colonies, according to IUCN.

“Public and scientific attention tends to focus on Western Honeybee as the key pollinator, but we must not forget that most of our wild flowers and crops are pollinated by a whole range of different bee species,” says Simon Potts, STEP project Coordinator.

“We need far-reaching actions to help boost both wild and domesticated pollinator populations. Achieving this will bring huge benefits to wildlife, the countryside and food production.”

Good Dutch bee news


This video from England says about itself:

15 December 2014

A lecture given by Jamie Ellis at the 2014 National Honey Show entitled “Biology of the Honey Bee“.

Translated from Wageningen university in the Netherlands:

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Again, Dutch beekeepers have lost last winter on average comparatively few bee colonies: about 10%. This means that winter mortality, measured in early April, now for three years in a row has been around 10% (respectively 13%, 9% and 10% in 2013, 2014 and 2015). This is the outcome of a telephone survey of beekeepers carried out on 2 April by the Dutch Beekeepers Association (NBV) and bee researchers from Wageningen university.

Winter mortality among bee colonies has for years been alarmingly high. There were winters that one out of four colonies did not survives. Fortunately, the most recent winters shows that the mortality rate is lower now.

Bumblebee queen on flowers and at nest, video


This video shows a large earth bumblebee queen on crocus flowers and at work at her underground nest in the Netherlands.

Bumblebee on crocus, video


This video shows a bumblebee on crocus flowers, early this spring.

15-year-old Jessica den Bol from the Netherlands made the video.

Bees, birds and yellow flowers


This video is called Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination.

From Plant Biology:

Bees, birds and yellow flowers: Pollinator-dependent convergent evolution of UV-patterns

Abstract

Colour is one of the most obvious advertisements of flowers and occurs in a huge diversity among the angiosperms. Flower colour is responsible for the attraction from a distance, whereas contrasting colour patterns within flowers aid orientation of flower-visitors after approaching the flowers. Due to the striking differences in colour vision systems and neural processing across animal taxa, flower colours evoke specific behavioural responses by different flower-visitors. We tested whether and how yellow flowers differ in their spectral reflectance depending on the main pollinator. We focused on bees and birds and examined whether the presence or absence of the widespread UV-reflectance pattern of yellow flowers predicts the main pollinator.

Most bee-pollinated flowers displayed a pattern with UV-absorbing centres and UV-reflecting peripheries, whereas the majority of bird-pollinated flowers are entirely UV-absorbing. In choice experiments we found that bees did not show consistent preferences for any colour- or pattern-types. However, all tested bee species made their first antennal contact preferably at the UV-absorbing area of the artificial flower irrespective of its spatial position within the flower. The appearance of UV-patterns within flowers is the main difference in spectral reflectance between yellow bee- and bird-pollinated flowers, and affects the foraging behaviour of flower-visitors. The results support the hypothesis that flower colours and the visual capabilities of their efficient pollinators are adapted to each other.