News — bee conservation

Bee Informed: Unusual Bee Species, Takeaways From California's Native Plant Conference, and An Introduction to Our Native Bees

Bee Informed: Unusual Bee Species, Takeaways From California's Native Plant Conference, and An Introduction to Our Native Bees

Each month our Bee Informed Blog highlights current news, science, and research related to solitary bee conservation, food insecurity, and sustainability. 1. "New unusual bee species discovered with dog-like snout" (Phys.org) A new native bee species with a dog-like "snout" has been discovered in Perth bushland though Curtin-led research that sheds new light on our most important pollinators. Published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, author Dr. Kit Prendergast, from the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences, has named the new species after her pet dog Zephyr after noticing a protruding part of the insect's face looked similar to a dog's...

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Bee Informed: Students Raise Mason Bees At Orcas School, Lava Hole Bees, and Showing Gratitude For Bees This Thanksgiving

Bee Informed: Students Raise Mason Bees At Orcas School, Lava Hole Bees, and Showing Gratitude For Bees This Thanksgiving

Each month our Bee Informed Blog highlights current news, science, and research related to solitary bee conservation, food insecurity, and sustainability. 1. "Students raising mason bees at Orcas School" (The Islands' Sounder) Orcas Master Gardeners Dray Longdon, Laura Walker, Tony Suruda and Nancy Forker visited the Orcas School Garden on Oct. 6 to help the 5th-grade students harvest cocoons of mason bees and prepare them for winter storage. Mason bees are native pollinators that nest in cavities. They harvested nesting tubes that have been at the school from April through October. Mason bees, along with bumble bees, are important early spring pollinators...

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Houdini Fly Alert for Mason Bee Raisers

Houdini Fly Alert for Mason Bee Raisers

We love mason bees for many reasons! They're early spring pollinators, a lot of fun to watch, and require very little maintenance compared to honey bees, making them perfect bees for busy gardeners and farmers. Traditionally, spring mason bee care included three simple steps. Step one, Install the mason bee house—step two, release mason bee cocoons. Step three, sit back and relax while these super pollinators do their thing. However, the Houdini Fly, an invasive parasite of the mason bee, has added an important new step to our care routine! What is the Houdini fly? Cacoxenus indagator, more commonly called...

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Researcher Highlight: Jessica Maccaro

Researcher Highlight: Jessica Maccaro

Mason bees are susceptible to many parasites and diseases, increasing over time, especially when the same nest materials are used for multiple seasons. One of the most destructive diseases of cavity-nesting bees is chalkbrood, which is caused by the fungal pathogen Ascosphaera. Several species of Ascosphaera exist, including Ascosphaera torchioi (affects mason bees), A. larvis, and A. aggregata (affects alfalfa leafcutter bees). Chalkbrood disease also affects honey bees, but it is caused yet another species of the fungus—Ascosphaera apis. Adult bees are not affected by chalkbrood, but they contribute to its spread. Adult masons pick up Ascosphaera spores from flowers and transfer them to the pollen ball they create for their...

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