News Round-Up

Rising temperatures overcook bumblebees’ brunch

Bumblebees pollinate many of our favourite foods, but their own diet is being upset by climate change, according to a new UC Riverside study.

There’s a sweet spot where floral nectar that bees eat has just the right balance of microbes like bacteria and yeast in it. Hotter weather can upset the balance, endangering the bees’ health and potentially, our own.

A new study in the journal Microbial Ecology examines the effects of these nectar composition changes on an American bumblebee. Without bumblebees, who perform a type of pollination that honeybees do not, it would be difficult to mass produce food crops like tomatoes, blueberries, peppers, or potatoes. MORE

Header image: Bombus impatiens, otherwise known as the common eastern bumble bee, served as the taste tester in this nectar preference experiment. Credit: Brooke Alexander.