203 - Dana Church - How humans changed the world of bumble bees


[00:00:00] Andony Melathopoulos: When we think about how humans interact with bees, our mind almost invariably travels to honeybees. And you can think back to a past episode, we had with Spencer Lennar talking about the 18 ha a book from the 18 hundreds called the fable of the bees where. So the transformations in society are conceptualize through a honey bee colony, but there is a long history of human interaction with other bees.

[00:00:25] And that's where my next guest comes in. Dana churches recently authored a new book called the beekeepers. How humans change the world. Bumblebees. So in this episode, we're going to talk with Dr. Church about about her book and what this history is

[00:00:41] with bumblebees and humanity. And also this book has ellos very readable for any audience.

[00:00:47] It was really directed towards a youth audience. Finish off the episode by hearing how you could use this book and incorporate it into your classroom, or if you're a parent talking with your kids about bees. So this week on pollination, and we're going to look at the other beekeepers humanity's interactions with bumblebees.

[00:02:10] All right. Welcome to pollinate.

[00:02:12] Dana Church: Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

[00:02:14] Andony Melathopoulos: I was really, I'm really happy. You're here too. I was really intrigued by the title of your your new book as a peculiar title for a book about bumblebees, the beekeepers. What was the impetus for a book about human influences on bumblebee?

[00:02:27] Dana Church: I'll just go back a little bit. So I studied Bumble bees for my PhD at the university of Ottawa in Canada. And even though I was pursuing a more academic career, I always wanted to write a book. And for some strange reason that I don't know why. I wanted to write for kids. I just, it just comes naturally to me.

[00:02:49] And I decided one day, I'm going to try writing a book about bees because I know a lot about bees. And I noticed in the children's market for books, there's a lot of books out there about honey bees and the public knows about honeybees. They're usually the first bee that comes to mind when you mentioned bees, but there's not a lot out there on Bumble.

[00:03:09] So I thought I'm going to write about my experience working with bumblebees. So the book actually started out as a non-fiction for kids, but it had a fictional character who whose mother was a professor and had a B lab and she would write. Show the reader around the B lab and talk about bees, give facts about bees or bumblebees, I should say.

[00:03:30] So that's what I pitched to the publishers, this fictional store or this non-fiction with the fictional character. And one editor came back, my editor at Scholastic and she said, this is very interesting, but what about a book about the human interaction or the human relationship with bees?

[00:03:49] And I thought, oh, that's really interesting. Let me think about that. So I went away and I started to do a bit of research because my background I studied animal cognition, so I looked at. Spatial memory in bumblebees. So I was looking at a very specific aspect of bumblebees. So I didn't know too much about the human interaction with bumblebees at the time, but I soon discovered that there was a lot to write about.

[00:04:13] So I went back to her and I said, sure, I would love to write this book. So yeah, it ended up being a book about how humans have influenced bumblebee. In terms of where they are found in the world our impact on their population and distribution and the title, actually we went back and forth on a title a number of times, and I know that the beekeepers, when you think of the beekeepers, probably think of honey beekeeping, but.

[00:04:41] To me the title, the beekeepers symbolizes how humans have also been keeping bumblebees as well, whether we are aware of it or not. On the one hand, as I go on to talk about in my book, there's habitat loss and pesticides and human influence on these which influenced them.

[00:05:01] But also there's a huge. For commercial bumblebees these companies that ship out millions and millions of bumblebee colonies to greenhouses and crops to be pollinated. So in, in a big sense, we are the keepers of the bumblebees as well.

[00:05:18] Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic. It's a, you have to do a double-take I, I was thinking, yeah, there are a lot of children's books on honeybees and you see this, the beekeepers.

[00:05:26] I see Bumblebee's there. And it really does prompt you to think about this history of how humans may have influenced bees. And maybe you can give us some examples. In the book, it it's not just this recent domestication, it goes back a ways. Tell us a little bit about this early relationship between humans and.

[00:05:45] Dana Church: Sure. So I'm in my book. I talk a bit about how Bumble bees ended up on, in certain parts of the world, either by accident, we think to the best of our knowledge or they've actually been imported. For instance, in Iceland, there's bumblebees in Iceland. I thought that they arrived there by accident, that they arrived through Viking ships that were traveling across the across the waters and somehow a bumblebee might've, just managed to hitchhike on a Viking ship.

[00:06:17] And then when it arrived, It flew off and found a home. And I guess it was a queen that was ready to lay eggs and she established a nest and there you have it. At least that's our best understanding of how bees might've ended up on Iceland. But also these were imported hundreds of years ago, as far as we know to pollinate red cloak.

[00:06:37] They were taken from, I believe it was the UK to, was it New Zealand to pollinate red Clover, they needed lots of red Clover to feed the horses at the time DePaul, their carts, there weren't cars at the time. So they were actually intentionally imported over and over time they perfected the technique of bringing over bees that were actually in hibernation.

[00:07:00] And so that when they woke up, they would be in there in their new continent. So humans have played a deliberate hand in distributing bees around the world. And these days, or more recently, I should say they're centered around the world. Like I mentioned from. Commercial companies who greenhouses or farmers can order these bees and they're shipped to their greenhouse or their crop land to pollinate crops.

[00:07:24] That's another way that these have been distributed also because these bees can escape from greenhouse. That they're sent to. And especially if they're out in the open for crops, they can go off and establish their own mess. And then start establishing populations in areas where they weren't found before.

[00:07:43] So that's just some examples.

[00:07:45] Andony Melathopoulos: I know some bees are notorious for hitchhiking. Every anything in the family mega Kyla day is either tether, but bumblebees, it sounds like in some ways, need humans to move them. I was thinking about this, who knows maybe in a bale of hay, the Vikings, brought them to Iceland, but the biology of moving bumblebees is it easy to move bumblebees and bring them to a new area, at least back then when people were moving them on ships, not like today where they get put on an airplane and.

[00:08:13] Our bumblebees well adapted. Is it a tricky thing?

[00:08:17] Dana Church: Good question. What I was able to find out through my research was that at the beginning they weren't very successful in transporting these, especially from continent to continent, where they had to go by ships and it would take a long time, often many, if not, all of the bees ended up dying.

[00:08:34] They were in hibernation mode, but just the conditions weren't good enough. But then once ships started to have refrigeration, then it seems like it was a lot easier or at least the success rate was a lot better because they were able to chill the. I guess in a state where they were, in hibernation mode for the duration of the of the trip.

[00:08:55] And then they could I guess not dumb fallout for lack of a better term in their new home. And then they could establish their nests. So it seems like refrigeration units played a role and also nowadays with the commercial company, It seems as though they have a good handle on how to control when Queens go into go into hibernation when they emerge.

[00:09:18] Although, as much digging as I did, I couldn't find out their trade secrets. So

[00:09:22] Andony Melathopoulos: it's trade secrets. They're very hard to, it's funny because and beak in the honeybee, beekeeping world, all the secrets are out. Like they were all, a product of the 19th century and. But bumblebees man, finding out how they do things very hard.

[00:09:37] Dana Church: Yeah. It was very tricky. Yeah. The commercial companies keep their data close to their chest. I tried and poked and prodded, but but yeah, even in terms of the numbers of colonies that they export every year it's hard to get a good number of. But from what I could find, and this was data from a few years ago, it was in the millions each year that they were shipping out these boxes of

[00:10:01] Andony Melathopoulos: bumblebees.

[00:10:03] Going back to the 19th century. There is this intense interest in bumblebees that is not only how do we, pollinate red Clover so that we can feed you, get things transported, but about their biology. Can you just tell us a little bit about that explosion of interest? And I guess this in part in the book takes the unit, take the form of, a very famous evolutionary biologist, maybe the most famous taking interest in bumblebees.

[00:10:29] Can you tell us a little bit about that?

[00:10:31] Dana Church: Sure. Yeah. So to naturalists or to I guess scientists, you could call them that

[00:10:37] Andony Melathopoulos: in that period, it's hard to tell people are not credentialed. They just kinda take it up.

[00:10:42] Dana Church: I know. Yeah. That's why I hesitated on like scientists I'll call them scientists, whatever.

[00:10:47] So yes, I featured Darwin and also a gentlemen named Frederick William Lambert Slayton. So those were two that I feature and Yeah, slate. And actually he wrote a very comprehensive book on bumblebees and how to raise bumblebees. He would actually catch queen bees in the spring and he would make these, I think they were made out of wood, these wooden domiciles or.

[00:11:15] And he would raise the colonies. And it's a very, it's a very readable book. Very entertaining at times because he actually kept ness of bees or colonies of bees in his office. And he would apparently keep his window open, so the bees could fly outside and forage and come back. So yeah. And why was he interested in bees or Bumble bees?

[00:11:36] I'm not exactly sure. I don't think he actually off the top of my head. I can't remember if he actually said it, but thinking of naturalists and scientists back then, these are big fuzzy insects and they're sorta, as their name implies bumbling around or look like they're bumbling around.

[00:11:51] And so I think it was probably really interesting for them, for people back then to see these big fuzzy insects flying around. And I'm guessing too, that they were probably way more abundant than they are. Especially if somebody had a garden, they would probably see a ton of these bees. And just be curious as to what they are, because I guess during that time too, like now people mostly think of honeybees and they keep honeybees.

[00:12:14] But bumblebees were less well-known. And Darwin the story I was able to find with Darwin is that it was actually. The son who found these bumblebees buzzing around in their backyard. And he told his dad Darwin about them and they decided to study them together. So Darwin with his son. And then I think he recruited his other children.

[00:12:34] They would observe bumblebee. On their property and Darwin wrote about them a bit. And it was interesting. One way that they were able to track them is they would sprinkle flour on the bees so they could see these flying around. Very interesting. But yeah, I think it's just these big, beautiful, fuzzy insects and not knowing much about them at the time.

[00:12:53] People were probably very interested in them

[00:12:55] Andony Melathopoulos: and there's in the book. There's some great illustrations from the slate and. Just, the various ways of trying to see, how you could, get the bees to nest in one, cause that's still a problem today is, it's easy to watch bumblebees as they're on flowers, but to understand anything about, their nesting behavior.

[00:13:12] Dana Church: Yeah. And I I touched on that later in my book too, because we're still trying to figure out, where do bees where do Bumble bees established their nest? For the most part it's underground, as far as we know in, in old rats or. Or any little crevices under underground or hidden.

[00:13:26] So because they're hidden and because they're underground, it's very hard for us to find this, unless you see bees zipping in and out. Like I found a bumblebee nest underneath my shed one summer, and it was simply because I saw bees going in and out. Otherwise I would never have found it. You can't visibly see a bumblebee nest.

[00:13:43] Very well.

[00:13:44] Andony Melathopoulos: Let's take a break. I want to come. I want to fast forward to the present. And also just want to, even for educators who are listening, just maybe talk a little bit about, how the book might fit into their curricular. People are looking for books for their kids.

[00:13:57] Let's take a quick break and we'll come back and I'm looking forward to talking more about the beekeepers.

[00:14:01] Dana Church: Great. Thank you.

[00:14:06] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. We're back at. Thanks for that, deep history of bumblebees and humans, going back to the Vikings, if not further back in the book, now let's fast forward to the present and there's been this renewed interest in bumblebee beekeeping. That's been associated with crops that have these funny answers, where the flowers, the pollen is not available to bees on the outside.

[00:14:30] They've got to shake the flower. Can you tell us about this aspect of bumblebee?

[00:14:36] Dana Church: Sure. So yeah, what you're talking about is a buzz pollination. And I talk about that in my book because I have a chapter about how bumblebees can be considered superstar pollinators cause not only are they big and fuzzy.

[00:14:50] Some stay out when it's cooler compared to other bees, but they're able to pollinate these flowers where the pollen is rather hidden inside the anthers and the answers have to be vibrated. So what the bumblebees do and other species of bees too but bumblebees especially they curl around the Anthony.

[00:15:11] I hang upside down and they grab the anthers with their mouth parts in their legs and they shake their flight muscles really fast. And when they do that, you can hear a high pitched buzz, like a sound that sounds different from when they're flying around. So if you have, if you happen to see tomato flowers or blueberry flowers and there's these around if you're able to.

[00:15:34] Stop and listen for a while and watch. And you'll, you might see a bumblebee buzz pollinate one of these blossoms. And it's quite interesting. Cause you can hear the distinctive high-pitched buzz that they make. But yeah, so they hang on, they shake their flight muscles and what happens. It's like shaking a tree to get the apples down.

[00:15:53] So it shakes the anthers, the pollen comes out and it lands on their

[00:15:57] Andony Melathopoulos: belly vibrations going up the trunk of the tree and then everything.

[00:16:02] Dana Church: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Making the apples fall. So the pollen comes out, falls on the bees belly, and then she scrapes them, scrapes the pollen grains back to her back. And then goes about her way.

[00:16:14] But yeah plants that need buzz pollination or tomatoes, blueberries, cranberries quite popular crops. And honeybees, as far as we know, as far as I know, don't buzz pollinate these types of flowers. So that's why bumblebees are the ones that are used to pollinate tomatoes. And it's a huge industry.

[00:16:32] That's where most of these commercial bumblebee colonies are shipped to or our greenhouses. And when you think about it, we use tomatoes and so many things, not only do we eat tomatoes on their own, up pizza sauce, pasta sauce we all need tomatoes and bumblebees are the ones that pollinate those.

[00:16:49] And as I talk about in my book, People can pollinate tomato flowers. Like you can get these like handheld contraptions that looks sorta like electric toothbrushes, but you have to go around and buzz every flower. And that can get quite expensive when you're paying employees to do that. So with bumblebees it's much more efficient and much more natural to use them as

[00:17:09] Andony Melathopoulos: pollinators.

[00:17:10] I remember seeing this for the first time when I was doing my master's work in the Fraser valley, suddenly bumblebees started to appear. And I remember they tried honeybee colonies and obviously is honeybees don't buzz pollinate, and it never worked. And they just didn't like greenhouses, but bumblebee seemed to not mind, like they can reproduce and fly around a greenhouse, which is a remarkable thing.

[00:17:31] It's it's a pretty artificial environment and they can pollinate all these plants.

[00:17:37] Dana Church: Yeah. It's quite incredible.

[00:17:38] Andony Melathopoulos: And I have noticed, I guess the second part of my life, when I did go to the, when I went to Atlantic Canada is the first time I saw bumblebee callings being used in an outdoor situation on low Bush, blueberry, where they would bring in they would have honeybees, but they'd also just to get that added bump.

[00:17:53] There was all sorts of ideas of maybe they fly differently or loosen the pollen for the honey bees. But that this is something that, and now I've, recently I've heard. Expansions of on the west coast. So in Oregon, we're not, we can't import a bumblebee.

[00:18:07] That's not native to the state. I think we're one of the few for listeners out there just to be conscious of that. But one of the companies has now domesticated one of the natives or this area. It is an industry that's just keeps going.

[00:18:19] Dana Church: Yeah. And and I talk a bit about that in my book too, about commercializing native versus imported bees.

[00:18:27] Because yeah, one, one issue that comes up with all these commercial colonies is that Bombus impatiens, the common Eastern bumblebee in north America is a popular one. But it's been shipped to areas where there's other native bees in, in the area and. They seem to be taking, they escape from greenhouses and they seem to be expanding their range.

[00:18:51] Whereas the native species are declining. And we're not sure exactly why, whether it is, disease that these imported bees have brought because whenever you have animals and factory light conditions there's always chance for disease and there's lots of evidence that, these commercial colonies can transmit diseases if they're not monitored carefully.

[00:19:10] And then, these new bees coming in can take over habitat take over nesting. So yeah, it's important. I think to consider if you're, if bumblebees are going to be commercialized to commercialize the native bees in the area, rather than importing new species. The one drastic story that I came across.

[00:19:30] In Argentina and Chile, they have this huge rusty colored bumblebee called Bomba. , it's a beautiful B. But it's in great decline and they think it's because there's been great. Importing of Bombus, I think it's bond to some patients to pollinate greenhouses for plants in greenhouses and these bees have escaped and the.

[00:19:53] Impatience population is increasing, whereas the Bombus Dabo, my native population is decreasing. So it would be a complete shame that fifth year, this beautiful, big rusty colored bumblebee becomes extinct.

[00:20:07] Andony Melathopoulos: And it's like the only if I remember right, it's the only native species in that area.

[00:20:11] Like it's not a, it's not like the Pacific Northwest where there's dozens of species, but it's like, there's one species and it's in.

[00:20:19] Dana Church: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:20:21] Andony Melathopoulos: It's a, it might be good just to remind for listeners who don't know with Bombus and patients, it isn't native and Oregon, but there is a population that is thought to escape from the greenhouses in British Columbia.

[00:20:31] That is, I think, in the Mount Vernon area. Now the Washington state department of agriculture has been doing a, it has a great citizen science project to track its movement. But fortunately at this point, I think it's only in Northern Washington. I'm glad that you raised these issues. Cause this is, I imagine for students who are reading, thinking about bumblebees for the very first time in their lives are fascinated by them.

[00:20:53] But I guess the book draws them deeper into thinking about, the implications of, this interaction between humans and bumblebees. There's some, remarkable stories, but there's some stories. No, we're starting to see bumblebee ranged declines may be associated with human interactions.

[00:21:08] I guess I want to ask you, you know what the, this goes beyond the book, but what do you see as the future of this interaction? How could it play out in maybe more positive ways or negative way?

[00:21:17] Dana Church: That's a really good question. Because although, I mentioned, it's probably best to commercialize native species.

[00:21:23] When you get into areas where there's a number of native species, like I'm thinking of Ontario where I'm from, for example, there's a number of different bumblebee species. And even though Bombus and patients. Is native to Ontario. There's all kinds of other species out there of bumblebees. Rusty patched is a good example where the rusty patched population has just plummeted in Ontario.

[00:21:46] They're finding it again in Minnesota, and in other words, But so yes, bombesin patients is native to Ontario and, commercializing it. Sure. But it could also squeeze out other species that also exists. So in terms of how it plays out in the future, it's a really good question.

[00:22:05] What I've been seeing so far is that. It's a mystery. Why some of these species bumblebee species are heartier than others like Bombus and patients, just seems to be really good at adopting the greenhouses, like you said, and also just surviving in the wild. They seem to be taking over a lot of habitat, whereas other species are declining.

[00:22:29] So maybe, for some reason they're just not quite as, as adaptable as inpatients Similar over in Europe where you have Bombus, terrestris the buff tail bumblebee which has commercialized and is very good at surviving in all kinds of different areas. Whereas other need other native species are having.

[00:22:49] So I see, maybe these more hardier species increasing in population or maybe stabilizing and whereas other species unfortunately, might be really declining and I hope not, but there's a potential that they could they could die out. Franklins is a great example, Franklins, bumblebee, we haven't seen that bumblebee species in years.

[00:23:11] And we're still looking for it, but, whereas other species are just doing fine. It's really, it's a really interesting question and I hope that, no bees going, no bee species go extinct, but it's really hard to say things don't look very good for some

[00:23:26] Andony Melathopoulos: species.

[00:23:27] I think this is a lot of information. It's a great enrich book and I do what grades would you say the book is? Steer towards. And if I was, if I was a parent or an educator and I wanted to incorporate the book into a, how would you use this book in a classroom?

[00:23:43] Let's say.

[00:23:44] Dana Church: Sure. The book is technically aimed at ages eight to 12. But I've had many adults read it and they say. Or they've enjoyed it and it's very readable. So I've done a number of class visits with grade three to grade six. So again, that age eight to 12 range and teachers are really interested in incorporating it into units on the ecosystem and biodiversity.

[00:24:09] Because these generally don't. Immediately come to mind when we think of, biodiversity and that kind of thing usually is the big mammals and humans too. But the bees usually aren't on people's radar. So yeah, when I talk to classes, I talk to them about why bees are important for the environment.

[00:24:27] All the different types of species of bumblebees that are out there. They often think of them. Black and yellow, big fuzzy bees, but there's bumblebees of all kinds of different colors and species. And also too, I take the opportunity in these class visits to let students know why I'm interested in studying bees because a lot of kids and myself included, I didn't always love bees.

[00:24:50] I was scared of them as a kid. I always thought they were going to stick me until I got my summer job working with them. And then I realized, yeah, they're not. We can watch them and they're fascinating and they're too busy going about their own business to disting us. So when I let kids know that, bumblebees are not, bloodthirsty, stingers, they they really open up and they're like, and they can see that, yeah.

[00:25:13] Bees, maybe aren't as scary as they thought they were. And yeah, that, they're very important to the To the ecosystem. So hopefully to make kids a little less scared of them and that they're not these big animals that they usually think of when they think of, the environment and helping the environment.

[00:25:29] But but thankfully, bees are getting more of the spotlight for sure. And environmental movements, environmental organizations, but but yeah, so I talked to him about ecosystems biodiversity. How bumblebees are just really fascinating if you take the time to

[00:25:43] Andony Melathopoulos: watch them. I think that's one, one thing that educators who may have thought haven't thought about incorporating, bumblebees or other wild bees into their curriculum is that they're really observable.

[00:25:54] If you have a school garden or anything like that, you can, create lesson plans associated with them. They're really easy to, get, go beyond just a. A slideshow, you can actually see them. But the thing I think is really remarkable about your book is it re it braids things together.

[00:26:13] It's not merely a biology book, but, as your publisher prompted you, it gets people to think a little bit about interactions in a way that I think is really wonderful and rarely done. I think that kind of history, that you get a history. Human interaction and biology.

[00:26:33] Primmer all in one easy read is one.

[00:26:37] Dana Church: Oh thank you so much. Yeah. And as it's funny, it just came across or came about organically as I was writing, as I was writing this, I was like, yeah, this really it's really feels like I'm trying to be an advocate for bees and to show that we are having an impact on them besides just, be behavior and be biology, there is some of that in the book too, but but I hope to really get over.

[00:27:00] That we are influencing the existence of bumblebees, but there's also lots we can do to help them as well. And I give lots of different examples. And for my next book, actually my next book is on Monarch butterflies, and I try to do the same thing. I try to show that, people have been living with Monarch butterfly.

[00:27:18] For so long, but we're having quite an impact on them. And at the same time though, there's lots that we can do to help them. And we're still learning about them and they're fascinating. And yeah,

[00:27:30] Andony Melathopoulos: I'm looking for, we will have you back on when you have that and let's take a quick break though.

[00:27:37] We have three questions. We ask our guests. I'm curious. We have. We had a book author. I don't know if we had, so this is a new edition. I'm so curious what your answer is going to be. Great. Thank

[00:27:49] Dana Church: you.

[00:27:49] Andony Melathopoulos: All right. We are back. We've got three questions for you. The first one is as an author. Do you have a book recommended?

[00:27:57] Dana Church: Oh, yes, I do. One of my favorite books that I came across and I was doing research for my own book is it's a book for adults. It's called a sting in the tail by Dave. I say it's for adults, but the kids could read it too. So a sting in the tail by Dave Wilson he is a bumblebee researcher in the UK and he wrote this book all about his it's called my adventures with bumblebees and it's very Assessable very entertaining.

[00:28:24] He has a great sense of humor, but it's just packed with all kinds of information about bumblebees and he presents it in a very entertaining way. He also wrote a book called bee quest also about bumblebees. I think that one is more about the decline of bumblebees if I'm not mistaken, but yeah.

[00:28:42] Sting in the tail is one of my favorites

[00:28:45] Andony Melathopoulos: and I was thinking, it has it's biographical and there's. You get to see his childhood. And I was just, I was hoping a book like yours, somebody reads it and it's yeah, I slate. And I'm going to go do that.

[00:28:57] Yeah.

[00:28:58] Dana Church: Yeah. I hope so too.

[00:28:59] I hope so too. I hope it sparks a whole new generation of

[00:29:03] Andony Melathopoulos: I'm confident of that. Speaking of be research or authorship we go-to tool for the, you do a lot of work with bees, right? Research to writing. Do you have a tool that you find indispensable?

[00:29:14] Dana Church: One tool that that actually promote my book and that I really loved is bumblebee watch.org.

[00:29:20] So it's the, it's an app that you can get that can help you identify Bumble. And the public can use it. And if they see a beep out in nature or out in their backyard, they can take a picture of it and send it to bumblebee, watch.org. And it helps scientists keep track of the various species of bumblebees that are out there.

[00:29:41] So it's a citizen science initiative, and I think it's.

[00:29:45] Andony Melathopoulos: And to that end for listeners in the Pacific Northwest, we're lucky to have bumblebee watches been amped up into the Pacific Northwest bumblebee Atlas, which is our C society also. So if you're interested in this, if you read the book and you're like, man, I want to contribute to bumblebee knowledge.

[00:30:00] It's a great initiative and we'll have it in the show notes. So you can. You too can participate. Cause it's, bumblebees, I think that the way that you described it with early Victorian naturalist is, they're big enough to like photograph and see. It's it's a great way to get yourself into

[00:30:17] Dana Church: Yeah. And and you mentioned the atlases, I'm so happy to hear that. Bumblebee atlases are starting to be established in various different states. It's wonderful. I hope Canada follow suit, maybe they are. I don't know. But but yeah, all of these different bumblebee atlases will be so useful.

[00:30:33] Andony Melathopoulos: Speaking of which, and I've been always surprised by this answer. In a honeybee beekeepers who list some kind of obscure native bee to obscure native bee people listing suggesting a butterfly. So you have, what's your favorite pollinating?

[00:30:49] Dana Church: Oh, pollinating insects. Oh, that's a tough one.

[00:30:52] I would have to say, I love that bond is Dell Bama, the big rusty colored bumblebee in Argentina and Chile. I hope to see it one day in, in real life. Yeah it's just, I can't imagine. It's just apparently so huge and so fluffy. And I interviewed Dr. Amy toss from Iowa state, she's been down to Argentina to study it and just hearing her describe it.

[00:31:16] She's it's these big orange free buses that are just buzzing through the air. And I think, yeah. It would be a Marvel to see. So I think that one would have to be my favorite, although it's very hard to choose. Just the other day, I think on Twitter, I saw a new, what we think is a new bumblebee species out in China.

[00:31:35] It was like it had white and orange. It was just gorgeous. I don't think it has a name yet. But there's just all these different bee species that that maybe we haven't even found yet either. Yeah. All these different bumblebee for patterns are just amazing.

[00:31:50] Andony Melathopoulos: So I know it's a tough question.

[00:31:52] I do take a slight pleasure in watching people squirm when they just, this such so many bees to choose from.

[00:31:59] Dana Church: But after writing a book on Monarch butterflies, I have to say the Monarch butterflies are way up there. Yeah. They're I love them. Yeah. Great.

[00:32:07] Andony Melathopoulos: Thank you so much. We're looking forward to catching up with you on your next book.

[00:32:10] And thanks for taking time to talk about your book. I've read it. It's really wonderful. I really encourage all the rest of you to.

[00:32:18] Dana Church: Oh, thank you so much. It's been so fun to be on your show.

When people think about beekeeping, their minds turn to honey bees. But humans have influenced the course of natural history for other bees as well. This week we hear about a wonderful new book that considers the ways humanity has shaped the fate of bumble bees.

Dana studied bumble bee spatial memory for her PhD at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She is a nonfiction author, and her first book, The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees, was published by Scholastic in March 2021. Dana has two more upcoming nonfiction books: one on monarch butterflies, also with Scholastic, scheduled for fall 2023; and one on animal cognition with Orca Publishers, scheduled for winter 2024.

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