"It is rare for any species of animal to regularly kill its own in combat.
However, male Dawson's bees, one of the world's largest bee species, are so aggressive that they kill each other en masse in a bid to mate with females.
The bees enter a frenzy of fighting, and by the time their deadly combat is over, every male bee is either killed or has perished."
In the video you can see them circling around the entrance to the nest. Jatai soldier bees are heavier -- they have larger legs but smaller bodies -- and they do not have the ability to sting. Instead, they provide a warning system for the other bees against attacks by predators, such as robber bees (Lestrimelitta limao). Robber bees simply come into a hive and steal honey but a full-scale attack can destroy an entire colony. Despite being stingless, the soldier bees are able to fight off robber bee scouts looking for a meal by clamping onto the wings and preventing them from flight.""
"When we think of bee nests, we often think of a giant hive, buzzing with social activity, worker bees and honey. But scientists recently discovered a rare, solitary type of bee that makes tiny nests by plastering together flower petals.
The O. avoseta bee builds a tiny nest about a half-inch long using petals from the flower Onobrychis viciifolia. Each nest usually houses a single egg.
Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a papier-mache husk surrounding a single egg, protecting it while it develops into an adult bee."
"Flight of the Bumble Bee #2" by Ed Kinnally
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist is trying to learn what is causing the decline in bumble bee populations and also is searching for a species that can serve as the next generation of greenhouse pollinators.
Bumble bees, like honey bees, are important pollinators of native plants and are used to pollinate greenhouse crops like peppers and tomatoes. But colonies of Bombus occidentalis used for greenhouse pollination began to suffer from disease problems in the late 1990s and companies stopped rearing them. Populations of other bumble bee species are also believed to be in decline.
Entomologist James Strange is searching for solutions at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pollinating Insects-Biology, Management and Systematics Research Unit in Logan, Utah. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of improving agricultural sustainability.
Many greenhouse growers now use commercially produced Bombus impatiens, a generalist pollinator native to the Midwest and Eastern United States and Canada. But scientists are concerned about using a bee outside its native range, and some western states restrict the import and use of non-native bees. If B. impatiens were to escape and form wild colonies in the western United States, they could compete with native bees for food and resources and expose native bumble bees to pathogens they are ill equipped to combat.
Strange has been studying a pretty, orange-striped generalist named Bombus huntii, native to the western half of the country, that could be used in greenhouses in the western United States. He is determining how to best rear B. huntii in a laboratory setting, a vital step in commercializing it.
To understand the decline of B. occidentalis, Strange and his colleagues also have been tracking its habitat range and population trends. Evidence gathered so far shows that the range and populations of B. occidentalis have declined, that it is not as genetically diverse as it used to be, and that it has higher pathogen prevalence than other bee species with stable populations. The results were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers also have assembled a large database with information on more than 80,000 Bombus specimens representing 10 species throughout the country, including B. occidentalis. With Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling technology, they were able to construct historic and current range maps of several bumble bee species. The mapping process is described in the Uludag Bee Journal.
More information: Read more about this research in the August 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. http://www.ars.usd … bees0811.htm
Provided by United States Department of Agriculture
Bumblebees can solve the classic "traveling salesman" problem, which keeps supercomputers busy for days. They learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they find the flowers in a different order, according to a new British study
Photograph by Mark W. Moffett
With a vigorous quiver, an Arizona sweat bee "buzz pollinates" a deadly nightshade flower. Its vibrating body shakes free the golden dust that will feed the larvae back in the nest—and promise the plant's DNA a future. Agapostemon sp. on Solanium rostratum, Arizona.