PLANET EARTH LANDSCAPES has over 7,000 members and over 303,000 photos and videos.
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 the bees need to eat flower pollen for protein and sip nectar for sugar as they go about their business.
PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD has over 1,500 members and over 112,000 photos and videos.
BIRD OF THE WORK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Mergus serrator
HABITAT: Breeds on wooded lakes and tundra ponds; winters mainly on salt water.
The handsome Red-breasted Merganser is a welcome sight along coastlines during the winter. This sea-going duck is notable for its long, red, serrated bill, which gives it the species name serrator.
One of the Red-breasted Merganser’s notable features is a shaggy-looking double crest, which reminds some of a bad case of “bed head.” The colorful male sports a metallic-green head, white neck band and wing patches, a red bill and eyes, and a reddish, black-speckled breast, for which the bird is named. The female is mostly gray with an orange-brown head.
PLANET EARTH OUR HOME is our flagship group with over 12,000 members and over 814,000 photos and videos.
Every year in early spring, Lane Green sets half of his property—100 acres of longleaf pine forest in the Red Hills region of the Florida Panhandle—on fire. Green, 73, has been burning this land since the time he learned to walk. His father would jury-rig a torch using a wire hanger and piece of cloth and tell him to drag it through the brush along the road—just as Green’s father had been taught before him, his granddad before him, and his great-granddad before him. When Green was young, his favorite time to burn was at night, when the air was cool, and the fire, creeping and crackling, looked as if the stars had been scattered across the ground.
Scientists and land managers almost universally agree that prescribed fire is the single best tool available to help mitigate wildfire risk. Landowners in the American Southeast use more prescribed fire than in any other part of the country. But across much of the American West—which has captured an outsize proportion of the public imagination around wildfire—scientists say land management agencies aren’t using fire nearly enough.
PLANET EARTH FLOWERS has over 2,000 members and over 82,000 photos.
Oreo maker linked to destruction of orangutan habitat for palm oil in Indonesia.
Palm oil suppliers to snack food giant Mondelez have destroyed almost 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat in Indonesia in just two years, new mapping analysis by Greenpeace International has revealed.