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Bumble Bees Pick the Most Nutritional Pollen, Research Suggests

The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State has found that bumble bees target pollen with the highest nutritional value, information that can help identify plant species and stocks that best provide for the needs of bumble bees and potentially other bee species, which will help in the development of pollinator-friendly gardens and planting strips.

What is the Value of a Species?

TAKE ACTION to save the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee: chn.ge/28QVIZn

Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his ‘white whale.’

Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his fuzzy quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him all along: why save a species?

A film by Day’s Edge Productions, produced in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Endangered Species Chocolate. With music by Dan Warren, New West Studios, and Cloud Cult.

Meet the Bee Expert who Helped Invent the BioBlitz

Sam Droege is known for his stunning close-up photography of bees, published in National Geographic (magazine and online), and featured also in the video on this post. He’ll be participating in the National Parks BioBlitz in Washington, D.C. this weekend, looking for bees, of course. Droege is also the head of the bee inventory and monitoring…

Watch: Monarch Butterflies Get Tiny Radio Trackers

National Geographic grantee Martin Wikelski tries to put electronic tags on free-flying monarch butterflies for the first time ever in order to track their remarkable migration.

Cannot See the Forest for the Bees

In Yosemite National Park, the bee population is incredibly diverse. However, these important pollinators are struggling in ecosystems across the nation. So what is the secret to the Yosemite bees’ success? It seems the answer is fire.

Hair Bands and Giant Trousers: A Lesson in How Little I Know About Bees

Earlier this year iLCP Fellow Clay Bolt embarked on an adventure to meet, document and ultimately tell the stories of as many of North America’s approximately 4,000 species of native bees as possible. In this article he shares their beauty, the challenges they face and shares what he has learned along the way to help us all learn more about what we can do to protect these precious insects.

Foodie Bees: Insects Head Downtown for Dinner

Foodies aren’t the only ones these days swarming cities in search of the best eats: Bees also prefer to eat in cities, new research shows.

Butterflies Can Evolve New Colors Amazingly Fast

Butterflies can evolve new colors rapidly and simply by tweaking the structures of their wings, a new study says.

Avocado Pollinators and the Need for Weeds

Dino Martins brings us an up-close view of the world of insects everywhere. Meet the wild pollinators that make the popular avocado fruit possible.

Plant Blasts Birds With Pollen Using “Bellows”

A rain forest plant baits birds with puffy treats, then blasts any takers with pollen—a unique discovery, a new study says.

Beyond Bees: 4 Surprising Facts About Pollination

In honor of National Pollinator Week, we delve into the strange, colorful world of the creatures that keep our planet blooming.

Road Salt Creating Beefier Butterflies

Caterpillars that eat roadside plants rich with salt evolve into abnormal butterflies with large muscles and eyes, a new study says.

Why Butterflies, Bees Drink Crocodile Tears

Moths, butterflies, and bees are known to feed on mammal tears, but the phenomenon remains poorly understood.

Monarch Butterflies Shrink, Get Paler After Skipping a Meal

Brilliantly colored monarch butterflies literally are what they eat—and missing even one meal can be harmful, a new study says.

Over 4,000 Reasons to Love (and Protect) North America’s Native Bees

This is part one of a year-long series of articles by iLCP Fellow, Clay Bolt, focused on documenting the lives and highlighting the importance of preserving native North American bumble bees. There are over 4,000 known species of native North American bees whose pollination services are worth an estimated $3 billion dollars per year to the US economy. Beyond this impressive dollar amount, many agricultural plants are primarily pollinated by native bees that are uniquely equipped with the tools and techniques required to do the job. While we’re (justifiably) spending heaps of time focusing on the loss of honey bees here in North America, our native bees are in decline as well, but in general, the media has overlooked this important fact.