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Honeybees pollinate a third of Australia’s food crops. Losing them due varroa might would cost the economy billions of dollars. David McClenaghan

Australian farmers face increasing threat of new diseases: report

A nationwide outbreak of foot and mouth disease; an invasion of a devastating wheat disease; our honeybees completely wiped out. These are just three possible disastrous scenarios facing Australia; they’re…
A busy bee, giving free horticultural help by collecting pollen. But a tiny mite has devastated bee populations around the world – and it’s now on Australia’s doorstep. David McClenaghan/CSIRO

Explainer: Varroa mite, the tiny killer threatening Australia’s bees

A tiny mite has been killing honey bees all around the world, and will inevitably reach Australian shores. So what is this destructive mite, and what we can do to protect Australian honey bees? The Varroa…
A far-from-mellow yellow. Owen Humphreys/PA

Revealed: the chemical blitz bees face in fields

Perhaps I was naive, but when I discovered the extent of the chemical soup applied to typical fields I was astonished. As part of our ongoing investigations into the impact of pesticides on bees, we looked…

Pesticide shrinking worker bees

Exposure to a widely used pesticide stunts growth in worker bumblebees, researchers from the University of London have found…
A queen bee tended by her workers … but take away her pheromones and they start to act strangely. Flickr/KrisFricke

Smells like queen spirit: royal pheromones in insect colonies

Much like people, insect colonies like to know if her majesty is at home. In the ants, bees, wasps and termites (the “big four” of the social insect world), the queen has long been suspected of using special…
Bees still in a sticky situation, despite the neonicotinoid ban. P7r7

Neonicotinoid ban won’t fix all bees' problems

The controversial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides comes into effect across the EU this weekend. Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are powerful neurotoxins, killing insects with minute doses and impairing their…
A brain the size of a sesame seed, such as that found in a honey bee, is still capable of weighing up decisions. macropoulos

What bees don’t know can help them: measuring insect indecision

Everyone knows what it’s like to be uncertain – at least, humans do. But are non-human animals ever uncertain? When we feel uncertainty, instead of risking the consequences of a bad or wrong decision…
When approaching a vertical surface, honey bees calibrate their speed to land safely. photophilde

How to land safely on a vertical surface, bee-style

Landing is arguably the most nerve-racking element of any flight. To execute a safe landing, a pilot needs to know the plane’s speed and its distance from the landing surface. The pilot’s challenge is…

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