Be quiet, please – I’m listening for bees

Sounds are everywhere in nature, and are important communication tools for many organisms. Plants may not be the first organisms you’d think of that would rely on sound to assess their environment, but new research shows that flowers can respond to the sound of a nearby buzzing bee by producing sweetened nectar, likely an adaptation that lets them avoid “wasting” resources on nectar production in the absence of hungry pollinators.

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The Hunger Gaps: when flower supply fails to meet bee demand

Wild bees are indispensable pollen-transporters that support and maintain diverse plant communities in nature, but in discussions about the well-being of bees, they tend to lose the spotlight to their honeybee cousins. One issue where both wild bees and honeybees are struggling, however, is in facing the lack of food continuity throughout the growing season. Mapping the “hunger gaps” for foraging bees, and working to close such gaps, is a key issue for bee conservation.

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Near-death experiences: sublethal effects of pesticides on pollinating insects

Negative impacts of pesticides on pollinators can take different forms: direct kills on contact (called lethal effects) or indirect effects, through the pollinators’ abilities to reproduce (called sublethal effects). These sublethal effects are generally not spotted by regulatory bodies through traditional ecotoxicological tests, but have severe impacts on pollinator health.

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