16 May 2016

Solitary bees contribute more than double to the economic benefit of apple pollination than honeybees. This is the output of a recent study in UK. For studying the contribution of different pollinators to apple yield, they asked three questions: how good do different flower visitors pollinate a flower? how often do the diverse groups visit […]

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19 February 2016

In public perception, “ecology” is used mostly in the context of conservation and sustainability. The science with this name though, deals with the relationships between organisms, species, populations and their living (biotic) and dead (abiotic) environment. Every species is embedded in a net of relationsships with its surroundings: this is true for pollinators, their pests […]

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12 February 2016

Last week Science published a study about the manmade dispersal of Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). This virus alone causes asymptomatic infections, but in association with Varroa destructor, it becomes a clinical disease closely related to winter losses of honeybees. The parasites are vectors for the virus and only together they cause symptoms like crippled wings […]

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5 February 2016

Bees are an exception to the rule saying that biodiversity is highest in the tropics. This is not true for bees – the climate in the tropics is not favourable for the flowers they forage on. In tropical areas you find other pollinators – like bats or birds – much more often than bees. Hotspots […]

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1 February 2016

The introduction of European bumblebees in Chile brought the only native species, Bombus dahlbomii, close to extinction. Two species were introduced in Chile, B. ruderatus and B. terrestris. It seems that the latter not only pushed back the native bees, but also transmitted diseases which had this devastating effect to the world’s biggest bumblebee. An […]

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29 January 2016

Two weeks ago I wrote about my time in Thailand and how an old beekeeper preferred native Apis cerana to European A. mellifera. Unfortunately, it seems that this attitude did not persist: there are several notices that Asian honeybees are in decline. This is again bad news for biodiversity. Last year I saw a poster […]

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