Finally, a world map for bees

First picture of worldwide bee distribution fills knowledge gaps and may help protect species.

Credit: Current Biology, open access
  • The first global picture of the world's 20,000 bee species holds a few surprises.
  • Unlike most other species, bees are less abundant at the tropics and more in dry, temperate zones.
  • Bees are endangered but crucial as pollinators – this study will help protect them.

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    Honeybee venom kills hard-to-treat breast cancer cells in new study

    An active component of honeybee venom rapidly killed two particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer in a laboratory study.

    • New laboratory studies by a team of scientists found that the active component of honeybee venom induced death in two forms of malignant breast cancer cells that are notoriously difficult to treat.
    • The magic healing molecule in the honeybees' venom appears to be melittin, which rapidly killed cancer cells in under an hour.
    • In the future, doctors could potentially use melittin alongside chemotherapy drugs to increase the efficacy of the treatment.
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    Rutgers-led research finds bee decline threatens crop yields

    Declining bee populations could lead to increased food insecurity and economic losses in the billions.

    (Photo: Sarah Dickinson)
  • Species richness among wild bees and other pollinators has been declining for 50 years.
  • A new study found crops like apples, cherries, and blueberries to be pollination limited, meaning less pollination reduces crop yields.
  • Conservation efforts will need to be made to stave off future losses and potential food insecurity.
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    Baby bees hatch with damaged brains thanks to pesticides

    Study finds that a colony's exposure to pesticides impairs offspring.

    Image source: Gill, et al/Tonio_75/Shutterstock/Big Think
    • Pesticide contamination in bee hives damages the learning capabilities of offspring, according to a recently published study.
    • A key area of the affected bees' brains never correctly develops after pesticide exposure.
    • Early impairment appears to be irreversible and is likely a factor in falling bee populations.
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    Honeybees just had a record winter die-off

    2018's winter was particularly harsh on U.S. honeybees. What's causing bee populations to plummet, and what can we do about it?

    Photo credit: Damien TUPINIER on Unsplash
    • Since 2006, the Bee Informed Partnership has conducted a survey on U.S. beekeepers. The most recent survey shows that the 2018 winter resulted in the biggest die-off since the survey began, with a loss of 37.7 percent.
    • This die-off is part of a larger trend. Bee populations have been falling for decades.
    • The reasons why are multifaceted and compound on one another.
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