Montana Public Radio

Bees

C. M. Delphia / Montana State University's Montana Entomology Collection

A federal review of existing data unveiled an alarming trend for the western bumblebee population: its numbers have dwindled by as much as 93% in the last two decades.

The U.S. Geological Survey finding will help inform a species status assessment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this fall, which may ultimately add the insect to its endangered species list.

Bug Bytes: How Bees Make Honey

Jun 15, 2020
A honeybee visiting a flower in Montana.
Glenn Marangelo

Liquid gold…honey, that is.

Honeybees make honey as a food source to feed the colony, particularly during winter, but exactly how do they make it?

Honey bees play a vital role pollinating many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we eat, and they’re an important part of Montana’s economy. But the number of bees dying each year is higher than it was two decades ago. A team of researchers are looking for solutions, ranging from new genetic clues to wildflowers.

Bug Bytes: Honey Bee Waggle Dance

May 21, 2019
When you see a bunch of bees visiting a particular patch of flowers, it’s not because they randomly stumbled upon this great food source. They are there because other members of their colony told them about its exact location.
(PD)

The next time you discover a new restaurant that you love, try telling your friends about it through interpretive dance.

That’s what you would do if you were a honeybee.

Bees and wasps are easily irritable in September.
Pixabay, public domain.

Hi! I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician. I’m here today with health tips for kids about: September bee and wasp stings. Ouch!


Mosquito.
(PD)

Hi! I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician. I’m here with health tips for kids about bug bites.

It's insect time again here in Montana, and I mean the flying, buzzing, biting sorts of insects like mosquitoes, flies, bees and wasps. Here are a few things that are cool to know about bug bites.

"I learned about five years ago that honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes. Honey bees are not native to North America, which I did know, but I was surprised that I did not know that honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes because I’ve been a gardener for decades. I was like, “How did I miss this?!” I felt sort of like a dope, and then I started asking other people and hardly anybody knew that honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes but that are a number of our native bees, those that evolved right here, can. So I thought, “People should know about this. I’m going to write gardening articles, and I’m going teach gardening for pollinators classes, because people should know who’s out there pollinating their tomatoes.” And I started reading about the bees and I sort of fell in love with them." -- Paige Embry on her love affair with native bees.

Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis).
Sesamehoneytart (CC-BY-SA-4)

I headed home with my head full of questions about what the bumblebee had been doing and why. Why would it ignore food in favor of bare and uninviting ground?

'Field Notes': The Wonders Of Winter Adaptation

Mar 13, 2016
A red fox rests in the snow.
Flickr user Charles Anderson (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Humans tend to sense and respond to winter - the cold, the snow, the wind, the short days - by controlling their environment. We mediate winter's effect by living in a warm house, wearing thick jackets or flying like "snowbirds" south to warm and sunny climates. 

A new law signed this week means Montana honey producers could collect millions of dollars in back payments.
(PD)

A new law signed this week means Montana honey producers could collect millions of dollars in back payments.

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