8 Things You Didn’t Know About Bees

Photo by Odilon Dimier/Getty Images

According to PBS Newshour, Beekeepers all over the world have reported significant colony losses in the last ten years. Those may be caused by the interconnected effects of pesticides, parasites, landscape changes and a warmer climate. But the good news is that the phenomenon has shined a spotlight on one of the nation’s most ubiquitous workers, reinvigorated local beekeeping and sparked a bustling local honey movement. Here are some unforgettable takeaways:

1. Forgive us, but honey is bee vomitus

Bees need pollen mostly for the protein, and nectar mostly for the carbohydrates.

Bumblebees' Little Hairs Can Sense Flowers' Electric Fields

Scientists say bumblebees can sense flowers’ electric fields through the bees’ fuzzy hairs. photo by: Jens Meyer/AP

By Nell GreenfieldBoyce

 

Flowers generate weak electric fields, and a new study shows that bumblebees can actually sense those electric fields using the tiny hairs on their fuzzy little bodies. “The bumblebees can feel that hair bend and use that feeling to tell the difference between flowers,” says Gregory Sutton, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. People used to think that perceiving natural electric fields was something that animals only did in water. Sharks and eels can do it, for example.

Bee a Detective and Discover the Culprit Behind Declining Bee Populations

photo: Nancy Coddington

Did you know that about a third of the U.S. diet comes from foods that involve pollination by honey bees? Since bees provide vital benefits to people, including crop pollination, and products such as honey and beeswax, the loss of bee colonies through colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a serious concern. In this lesson plan from The Nature Conservancy, students learn about the features of a honeybee colony and the potential causes of CCD. The activity puts students at the cutting edge of scientific research because to date, CCD has not been reliably attributed to any single cause. By the end of the lesson, students should understand that in nature, simple cause/effect relationships may not explain all of our observations.