Queen honeybees have a pretty cushy life. Living inside the hive, worker bees take care of most tasks like collecting pollen and nectar, producing honey, and fixing up the hive. But that’s not the case for queen bumblebees. For most of their life, the fuzzy, fat, black-and-yellow bees in the genus Bombus fly solo and have to fatten up after hibernation, found a colony, and raise a batch of baby workers before they get a day off. Those weeks as a single mother are perilous for bumblebees, which rely on early-blooming flowers to survive the spring. A new study shows that the more diverse the flowers the queen bees can access, the better off the bees are in the long run.
Unlike queen honeybees, Apis mellifera, which can live for years and overwinter in their hives, the bumblebee life cycle is annual. In the fall, after mating with a male drone, new queen bumblebees dig a cavity in the ground to overwinter. When they emerge in the spring, it’s their job to find a new nest site, which can be a cavity in a tree, a hole in the ground, or even a nice tussock of grass. But searching for real estate is hard work, and thebees need to eat flower pollen for protein and sip nectar for sugar as they go about their business.
Conflict and displacement have compounded centuries of discrimination against Yemen’s Muhamasheen minority, denying access to jobs, documentation and humanitarian aid.
AMRAN, Yemen – It was past noon, the time when Mariam would normally start preparing lunch for her children. But today, she and her extended family of 14 have not yet had their breakfast; the cold firepit in the corner of their tent an unwelcome reminder that they last ate more than a day ago.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Sitta pusilla POPULATION: 1.4 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Loblolly, Longleaf, Shortleaf, and pine-oak forests.
The perky, social Brown-headed Nuthatch never strays far from its favorite pine-forest habitat, where small flocks range through the trees, easily detected by their squeaky calls. Even smaller than its close relative theWhite-breasted Nuthatch, it’s no wonder that this tiny songbird’s species name is pusilla, Latin for “very small.”
The Brown-headed Nuthatch, like theGreen Heron, is one of the few birds in the world known to regularly use tools. When foraging, it may select a flake of pine bark, then use it as a lever to pry up bark scales to get at food hidden beneath, usually insects and spiders or their eggs. This enterprising little bird has also been observed using twigs and pine needles as tools. A Brown-headed Nuthatch will even carry its tool from tree to tree as it forages, or use it to cover up a cache of seeds.