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Study Points to Multiple Causes of Bee Population Collapse

In a world of competing theories, sometimes more than one is right.

Photo by Charlesjsharp via Wikimedia Commons

Bees are disappearing all over the place. For years, scientists and apiarists have sought the cause of mass bee die-offs in the United States and Europe. And while many won’t miss the occasional uncomfortable sting from the little buzzers, they certainly will miss the $16 billion in American crops those bees pollinate every year. A number of supportable theories to explain the bee slump have been put forth—parasites, disease, loss of habitat to encroaching urbanization—but proving a single cause of the situation has remained elusive. Now, a new paper, published last month in Science, might tell us why.

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How Bees See Flowers Pollinator Porn

A new Floral Reflectance Database shows humans what plants actually look like to different pollinating insects.


A new Floral Reflectance Database created by scientists at Imperial College London and Queen Mary, University of London, shows humans what plants actually look like to different pollinating insects.

Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explained to the BBC that "much of the colored world that's accessible to bees and other animals with UV receptors is entirely invisible for us. In order to see that invisible part of the world, we need this special machinery."

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