Bee Informed: Celebrate Earth Day with a Bee Walk, Squash Bees are Spreading across North America, and Mapping People's Knowledge of Bees

Bee Informed: Celebrate Earth Day with a Bee Walk, Squash Bees are Spreading across North America, and Mapping People's Knowledge of Bees

Each month our Bee Informed Blog highlights current news, science, and research related to solitary bee conservation, food insecurity, and sustainability.

1. Celebrate Earth Day with a bee walk

(Environment America, By Steven Blackledge) Earth Day—April 22nd—is a day to not only celebrate our planet but also to take part in environmental education and activism to build a greener, healthier world. And what better way to help the planet than by helping the fuzzy little critters whose hard work holds up entire ecosystems?

I’m talking about bees. These humble heroes pollinate 80% of the world’s flowering plants, and there are more than 4,000 bee species native to the United States alone. But as they buzz from blossom to blossom, they’re increasingly likely to encounter thetoxic pesticides that are driving steep declines in bee populations.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate Earth Day and help save the bees this year, why not take a bee walk? Continue reading...

2. Squash Bees are rapidly spreading across North America

(, By Eric Ralls) A new study led by Penn State researchers has discovered that the squash bee (Eucera pruinosa) has evolved to thrive in response to the intensification of agriculture in North America. This new research, which is the first to show the role of agriculture as an evolutionary force acting on a wild insectpollinator, could have implications for food security.

The squash bee is a species of wild bee that is an important pollinator of plants in the genus Cucurbita, including crops such as pumpkins, zucchinis, and other squashes. The bee is native to the deserts of Mexico and the southwestern United States, where its primary source of pollen was the wild buffalo gourd (Curcurbita foetidissima).

The secret to squash bees’ success lies in its love of squashes, pumpkins, and zucchinis, which have seen a significant increase in cultivation across North America in the last 1,000 years. The researchers found that the bee has adapted to agricultural practices used in the cultivation of squashes. Continue reading...

3. Study: Mapping people's knowledge of bees may aid in pollinator conservation

(Penn State, By Chuck Gill) U.S. college students’ knowledge of bees focuses primarily on honey bees and pollination services, according to Penn State researchers, who said findings from their recent study could help in designing campaigns to generate support for protecting threatened pollinators.

The researchers said previous studies suggest that public awareness of the breadth and diversity of bee species — which number more than 400 in Pennsylvania, 4,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 globally — is low and that people tend to have better knowledge of honey bees than of other bee species, even though honey bees are not representative of most species.

To craft persuasive messages that are effective even among people with low awareness, more in-depth studies are needed, the researchers noted. So, they set out to develop a novel approach to examining knowledge using semantic network analysis and content coding. Continue reading...

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