News from the world of bees

Pollen availability determines how bees’ life will unfold

“Colony population responds to pollen availability”. That’s what Randy Oliver said during the Four Pillars of Honey Bee Management, a conference that took place in October 2015 in Medina, Ohio Randy Oliver is a Californian biologist who dedicated himself to beekeeping – running more than 1,000 hives together with his sons – as well as […]

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Urban planning for city bees

Bees’ livelihood depends completely on flowers. The pollen flowers produce is bees’ main and only food source. In turn, bees’ presence is crucial to plants’ reproduction. Without pollinators, most plants would go extinct. That’s why it is in our best interest to keep them both in good health. ‘Features of urban green space favourable for […]

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Bees and their many eyes

Bees have two big compound eyes made of numerous small lenses. They are located on the upper part of their head. Bees also have three smaller eyes called ocelli, which have a simpler functioning that resembles the way photocells work. Even though they cannot see all of the details of an object, bees’ set of […]

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Bees need to sleep too

Before 1983 we didn’t even know bees sleep. However, from that time onwards literature on this matter kept on growing more and more. Thanks to the efforts of many researchers, we now know a good deal about bees’ sleep. The way bees sleep does not differ from the way many mammals and birds do. When […]

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Honey Adulteration

Honey Adulteration Is the honey we buy actually pure? We try to look for high quality products in supermarkets, but often counterfeit foods are hidden on the shelves, a lot of which are imported from China. Among these products lies honey, one with many important properties, which are lost during the adulteration process. In some […]

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The bees are disappearing

It's pretty known that the bees are disappearing. Bees are the main group of pollinators of the agricultural ecosystem; almost 80% of the foods we consume every day depend on bees. In the European Union, hives have fallen by over 50% in recent years.In Italy this figure stands at an average of 25% per year, while […]

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Maize and honey are both essential in Friuli Venezia Giulia

It is not a secret that the beekeeping sector is going through a crisis. Causes are many and each of them deserves attention. This is what has been said during the 40th edition of the annual beekeeping conference taking place on 10th March 2019 in the Italian city of Pordenone. This year the conference was […]

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Environmental DNA, a whole ecosystem in a drop of honey

When bees are looking for food, they do not gather only nectar from flowers, but also genetic traces of the many organisms living in that ecosystem. Making sense of all the pieces of information collected by bees is not easy because every genetic fragment belongs to a specific organism. Bioinformatics can help us tell them […]

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Bee and web hosting linked by an algorithm

Thanks to swarm intelligence, bees’ colonies can organize foraging activities very efficiently. Though there is no central control, forager bees can spread out in the area surrounding the hive so to produce as much honey as possible in the given conditions. Whenever a forager bee finds a new source of food, it can easily tell […]

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Swarm intelligence and super-organisms

Swarm intelligence is a research area dealing with the way both artificial and natural self-organized systems work. The concept was first developed in the late 80s. Nature offers many examples of self-organized systems; flocks of birds, schools of fish, ants and bees’ colonies and so on. Another distinctive feature of these systems is that every unit – […]

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Curing injuries with honey, does it work?

In ancient times, many cultures gave credit to the idea that honey had healing properties. As time went on, people kept believing honey could help curing many conditions. When science came about, researchers started inquiring how effective honey-based remedies really were. Doctors gathered a lot of data on how their patients - afflicted by a variety […]

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10 facts about bees you did not know

1 - Egyptians used honey a lot. We know that because honey is listed as an ingredient in around 900 Egyptian medical recipes. Many Egyptian medicines contained a mix of honey, wine and milk. Egyptians also offered honey as a sacrifice to the gods. In addition, honey played a major role in embalming the dead. 2 […]

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Honey’s features and production in Italy

When bees gather pollen, they can get it from any flower they may like. Geographic area and time of the year determine what flowers bees will find on their path. If a specific flower grows in great numbers in a certain area, chances are bees living in the vicinity will almost exclusively collect that kind […]

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Preserving honey and its texture

Let’s talk about crystallisation. Compact honey cannot be used right away, sometimes it is so solid you will not even be able to dive a tea spoon in it. However, this does not mean that solid honey is not good to eat. It is normal for honey to change texture through time, but that does […]

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Bee dance: is it a limitation or a resource?

The waggle dance is a body language bees use as a communication tool with other worker bees. The dance is meant to indicate where a food source is. More specifically, a bee will point in which direction - relative to the sun - her hivemates will have to fly. She will also indicate how far […]

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Different bees like different things

Some species cooperate and distribute the work load among all the members of their colony. Only those species with a highly developed social organization can display such behaviours. Bees do.  During the sixties scientists started studying bees. They noticed how not only them, but also other insects and animals tend to organize their colony on […]

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The EU bans neonicotinoids to save bees

Using pesticides is dangerous for both honeybees and wild bees. Farmers are using seeds treated with pesticides, so they grow contaminated crops. Spontaneous flowers growing on the edges of these crops get contaminated too. Insects pollinating these flowers pick up the pesticides. This is why in recent years bees have been dying more and more. […]

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Social immunity will save the bees

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon caused by a variety of different causes. The list begins with parasitic diseases varroosis and nosemosis, which are the most widespread diseases among bees. They are followed by honeybee viruses such as the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) and the deformed wings virus (DWV). Both viruses can be carried […]

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Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile Pluto) Is Still Alive

The largest bee in the world was rediscovered in the forests of the Maluku Islands, Indonesia. For a long time, many thought this species to be extinct. However, thanks to the endeavors of a small team of scientists, a female specimen was found up and about in a termites’ nest. Named after British entomologist Alfred […]

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Bees and their mathematical brains

The discovery of the mathematical brain of bees, published in the magazine Science Advances, shows that not always in the animal kingdom you need a large brain to have the power to reason with numbers. Bees can perform complex operations such as addition and subtraction. They just need to be trained. A team of researchers from […]

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The artificial intelligence that detects the varroa mite

The artificial intelligence comes to the aid of the bees by finding the varroa mite, their number-one enemy, which attacks them in the hives and kills them. Some students of the Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (Epfl), led by the engineer Jean-Philippe Thiran, have developed a system that identifies the parasites as soon as they attack […]

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Plants feel bees through flowers!

A team of scientists at Tel-Aviv University says that plants, while not having ears and brains, have a kind of 'hearing' that allows them to hear the buzzing of bees in the vicinity, and consequently produce a sweeter nectar to attract insects. The hypothesis that plants were able to detect the vibrations of sound waves […]

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THE ROBOT THAT TRACKS DOWN SICK BEES

Bees, on which we rely to pollinate our crops, are decimating, but science is coming to our aid! Researchers have traced the movements of bumblebees by sticking QR codes behind them. They also created a system that tracks individual bees exposed to imidacloprid, a neurotoxin belonging to the group of neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids are the […]

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Why are bees dying?

It's still a mystery, but Harvard researchers have made progress! For some years now, bees are decimated because of neonicotinoids. These substances are used as poison to defend the crops from the attack of other species of insects, so that, even if not voluntarily, also bees are hit. It would seem that, once these substances […]

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The DNA of honey

A group of researchers from the University of Bologna managed to analyze the DNA of honey discovering a new world! To create honey, bees collect nectar or honeydew from flowers and plants around the hive up to ten kilometres away. They collect nectar or honeydew from flowers and plants, but they also capture traces of […]

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Plants that are good for nature

If this year you have decided to show your green thumb at its best here is a way to do good to nature, with plants that are not only beautiful and useful in the kitchen but also nourish the bees. Bees in this period suffer, due to the use of pesticides and human activities, a […]

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Urban beekeeping: honey that's good for bees and us

Urban beekeeping involves making honey at home, right in the city! This phenomenon is becoming more and more popular in urban centers because of the many advantages; city honey is "km", which is an Italian way of saying locally produced, and honey happens to be healthier. Researchers have shown that one of the main causes […]

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The extraordinary language of bees: a dance that enchants

Go in search of food is one of the various tasks of worker bees; once found it, they return to the hive and communicate to the companions the exact location of the source of nourishment. This is when the dance begins: a circular dance if the nectar is less than 25 metres away, or an […]

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Queen, drones and worker bees: roles and tasks in the beehive

In the structured hierarchy of bees, each individual has a specific task. At the top of the hierarchy we can find the queen bee which is the only one able to lay eggs. Her fecundation takes place during the mating flight in which she couples with 5-16 males: the female gets up in flight at […]

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Pollen

Pollen is the fundamental element of plants, it’s collected by bees and used for larvae nutrition. It looks like a sticky yellow powder that gets trapped on the body of the bee when the bee rests on the flower. Then the bee groups the pollen into small balls and deposits them in bags on the […]

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