Honey bees can recognize faces, communicate the location and quality of food sources to their sisters via the waggle dance, and navigate complex mazes with the help of cues they store in short-term memory. Image: Boba Jaglicic/Unsplash
Everywhere, bees are dying. But it’s not too late to take action to help boost their populations
The world as we know it is dependent on bees. It’s not just that our planet would become a pointless waste of space without honey, but at least a third of our food directly relies on bees for pollination.
Notice anything missing in your garden this summer?
The extreme heat spell Manitoba has experienced has meant struggles for a number of plants, which in turn means struggles for both wild and domestic bees — at a time of year when there’s usually an abundance of the fuzzy insects.
“The problem we’re having right now with the extreme dryness is the plants are going into heat stress,” Ian Steppler of the Manitoba Beekeepers’ Association told 680 CJOB.
“The first thing a plant does when it goes into heat stress is it cuts back on all its expendable energy. The first thing that typically goes is the nectar production.”
A lack of wild bees and managed honey bees is limiting pollination and yields for certain crops on farms in British Columbia and across the United States, a collective of researchers has found.
Their study published Tuesday in the Royal Society’s journal Biological Sciences used data from more than 130 farms to assess the pollination of crop flowers and yield for apples, highbush blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, almonds, pumpkins and watermelon.
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ByBrenna Owen The Canadian Press
Posted July 29, 2020 4:40 am
Updated July 29, 2020 4:43 am
The biggest scourge to bees is tiny—a mite the size of a pinhead that feeds on them and spreads deadly viruses. Getting rid of the parasite, Varroa destructor, is tough: Chemicals can kill it, but the mite has started to evolve resistance to the usual pesticides; moreover, these and other treatments can harm the bees themselves. Now, researchers have toughened up a mite-killing fungus so it can slay the bee slayers inside a hot beehive. If the new strain passes further tests, it could help honey bees around the world avoid a gruesome fate, and reduce the use of chemical pesticides.