Is your garden bee-friendly? – City gardens promote bee parasites

Parasites are threatening pollinator populations worldwide, raising concerns for the future of our food security. How we manage our gardens in cities could impact parasite transmission among pollinators, especially bees. Researchers found that bee parasites decrease when we plant plenty of flowers to promote diverse pollinators. We also reduce parasites when we refrain from mulching our gardens, as mulch covers nests for ground-nesting bees. As spring approaches, will your garden be friendlier to bees or their parasites?

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The Potential of Parasites

Although parasites have a negative reputation, they can be a valuable conservation tool. Their diversity means they can be used in many applications, and this range of known potential purposes will only increase with further exploration. This article explores how parasites have been used to better understand habitat fragmentation, invasive species movement, harvested species overexploitation, and even climate change!

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Prey or Mate – Can web-building spiders tell the difference?

After reaching maturity, male web-building spiders leave their webs in search of a mate. The real challenge occurs once the male reaches a female’s web because the female could easily mistake male vibrations for prey vibrations. Not wanting to be the female’s next meal, the male needs to produce unique vibrations to identify itself as a potential mate, not prey. The female must decipher male and prey vibrations and delay attack when a potential mate enters the web. Will this be enough to avoid tragedy? Click to find out!

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Why don’t cowbirds feed their chicks?

The brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), a native of North America, doesn’t build a nest. It also doesn’t feed its chicks, stick around for their first flight, or comfort them during storms. How can a bird species survive when it doesn’t care for its young? The answer involves covert egg-laying, chick sabotage, and the unwitting generosity of other songbirds.

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