bee conservation, good practices

28 May 2021

Bee conservation – the term seems pretty straightforward. However, even such a noble goal can divide and create conflicts. Also between bee people. When I do talks and courses for beekeepers about “other” bees, I often get the question: “But you do like ‘real’ bees, too, don’t you?”. My answer is that I like all…

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flower strips, pollination, bees

7 May 2021

Flower strips at field edges are quite popular. They’re promoted as “bee-friendly”, as increasing biodiversity in farmland. Noble goals. However, it’s a legitimate question if this is true. Some studies show contradicting results. It’s also a common criticism that with flowering strips you first attract pollinators, which are then killed by pesticide applications. This is…

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social bees, climate change

3 March 2021

Social bees – and I don’t mean only honey bees by this – are more visible than solitary species. When there’s a bumblebee colony nearby or an apiary, you will automatically see more bumblebees of this species or honey bees flying around. It’s a numbers game. However, I always insist that the bee colonies are…

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bumblebee ranges

19 February 2021

Bumblebee ranges are a bit different from other bees. As a rule of thumb, bees are most diverse in regions with Mediterranean climate. Bumblebees, on the other hand, like it cooler. I like to call them the polar bears between the bees. This is funny, because, as I learned today, in China apparently they’re called…

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impact of climate change on pollinators

12 February 2021

The impact of climate change on pollinators is complex. In the examples I gave last week, we saw how a divergence between the flowering period of a plant and the activity period of a bee species can affect the latter. Such phenological mismatches happen when plants and pollinators react differently to rising temperatures. Phenology, if…

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central place foraging, bees' needs

5 February 2021

Many, many years ago, I was coordinating a federal honey bee selection project in Germany. There was a problem, though: The season doesn’t start at the same time in the whole country. To make the data comparable, we asked the beekeepers to start with their observations when the goat willow started to bloom. This was…

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