At the beginning of the 90’s a Dutch entomologist, Von Asperen de Boer, discovered what he believed a new species of bumble bee, which was collected in the vicinity of Lake Villarrica (South of Chile).
In 1992 Von de Boer published a work where he introduced this new species Bombus villaricaensis¹.

Image for post
Image for post
Bombus ruderatus. Picture Fernando Tellez

What Von Asperen de Boer did not know is that 10 years earlier, the European bumble bee species Bombus ruderatus² had been introduced to Chile. So, realizing that Bombus villaricaensis and Bombus ruderatus were the same species, the same author published a clarification note of his error in 1993…

The giants among us.

Image for post
Image for post

Bumble bees are a charismatic group considered by some to be the “pandas of the bee world”. Bumble bees belong to the genus Bombus, with around 260 different described species. Besides their importance as excellent pollinators, these bees are declining worldwide due to different factors: habitat fragmentation, pesticides, diseases, climate change, etc (Williams and Osborne 2009, Cameron et al 2011).

Here in the USA the rusty patched bumble bee Bombus affinis has declined in about 90% of its historic distribution (north and the north-eastern USA) in only 20 years (Jepsen et al 2013). …

Image for post
Image for post
Moscardón Bombus dahlbomii. Picture Pablo Vial.

Bombus dahlbomii is the official (scientific) name of our moscardon. The entomologist Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville coined this name in 1835, dedicating the specific epithet to the Swedish scientist Anders Gustaf Dahlbom.

Halloween is almost here and I wanted to share this little history, in Latin America, we have the cuco, it is our version of the boogie man, if you are not a good kid or if you don’t behave the boogie man will come for you… this always scared the bejesus out of me when I was a little kid.

Image for post
Image for post

As time passed and I grew up to become a biologist who studies native bees (melittologist) and I discovered another kind of cuco (actually cuckoo), but no less terrifying, the cuckoo bees…

Chapter 3. Do you know how a bee smells?

Do you know how a bee smells? This is a weird question, but do you know? When I am collecting bees I smell this lemony aroma. This scent goes through the net, it is strong. Some studies say that these smells are a way bees communicate and send an alert of danger to other bees or in the case of honey bees it can be a signal to find their way home.

Image for post
Image for post
Yellow masked bee Hylaeus spp. This bee produces a strong lemon scent as a signal of danger.

But bees like flowers, and as you know flowers smell different. In many cases, the bees can pick up…

Living in a Condo

Most people think bees live in hives with a queen, workers, and drones, but only a small percentage of all bee species live that way. Most bees are solitary. That means one “bee mom” does all the work of building the nest, collecting nectar and pollen, and laying and taking care of the eggs. Also, many types of bees nest on the ground. At this time of year, it is easy to see some of these solitary bees making their nests. They are associated with the first flowers to bloom and they are important for pollination…

Image for post
Image for post

“Winter turns to spring
Famine turns to feast
Nature points the way
Nothing left to say
Beauty and the Beast”

From our series “Friends of the Valdivian Rain Forest”, today, we bring “The Beauty and the Beast”, reminiscent of the classic French tale “La Belle et la Bête”, where our Belle, is with her stylized figure and red-purple dress, the beautiful Flower of the chilco (Fuchsia magellanica) and the Beast, this time using another meaning of the term — that speaks of how monstrous it becomes to its size and its heavy and clumsy flight — is our beloved bumble…

Bees are very important pollinators. They pollinate commercial crops (most of our food) and plants in the wild (including your national parks, preserves, prairies, forests, deserts, etc) however, we know very little about them. In general, the public associates the word bee with the European honeybee (Apis mellifera), this domesticated species was brought to the USA by colonists over 400 years ago.

There are around 20,000 known species of bees worldwide (more than all the mammals and birds combined!!!!). There are approximately 4,000 recorded species in North America, with an incredible diversity of sizes and forms. For example, the fairy…

Jose Montalva

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store