Discover more from The Bee Report
Bumble bees kept in isolation become social butterflies later. Ag consortium seeks to appeal recent ruling that protects bumble bees. Computer model to predict whether a pesticide will harm bees.
Keeping us connected to the world of bees
Who loves bee-related news? You do. Become a Friend of the Bee Report!
Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.
Photo: Daniel Kim, The Seattle Times
(Seattle Times) At 10 different sites in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Autumn Maust, a doctoral student from the University of Washington, is researching the impacts of wildfires on native bee communities. She strives to better understand how fires exacerbated by climate change are impacting the pollinators, and to eventually identify the plants they depend on so that forest managers can protect them.
(Prof. Jeff Ollerton) “So the answer to the question ‘have honey bees declined in Britain?’ is a resounding NO! They are at least as abundant as they were almost 70 years ago. This reflects the global situation where there’s been a substantial increase in hive numbers since the 1960s, as you can see in the figure below.”
(University of Sydney) Scientists are developing insecticides that target two major pests of honey bees – Varroa mite and the small hive beetle – but are completely safe for the bees and other animals. The insecticides “will contain molecules that exploit differences in a protein found in honey bees, Varroa mites and small hive beetles. In the pests, they will inhibit the operation of the protein – which is a receptor for the essential insect hormone ecdysone – while leaving the corresponding protein in honey bees unaffected.”
(The Guardian) Bees from 1,533 hives have been destroyed between the NSW central and mid-north coasts, as well as at Narrabri in the state’s north-west, the state’s agriculture minister said.
Photo: Stephanie McKnight, Xerces Society
(Xerces Society) The agricultural and pesticide consortium has previously argued that insects, including four bumble bee species, may not be listed for protection under CESA. In November 2020, a trial court sided with the consortium. In February 2021, conservation groups, represented by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, and the Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife appealed. In May 2022, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously in favor of the State of California and conservation groups, holding that bees and other insects can be protected under CESA.
(Politico) While the European Commission fully banned neonicotinoids in 2018, Romania’s agriculture ministry has routinely side-stepped the ban by resorting to an exemption mechanism in the EU’s main pesticide law designed as a last-resort measure to save an endangered harvest. Critics say the government is ignoring existing alternatives and granting all derogation requests submitted by powerful farm and agrichemical groups.
Photo: Sameer A. Khan, Fotobuddy
(Princeton University) Researchers expected that, as had been previously shown with a variety of organisms, bumble bees who were socially isolated would exhibit more aggressive behavior and interact less with their social partner. The researchers were surprised to find that the isolated bees blossomed into social butterflies, exhibiting an increase in affiliative, or “friendly,” behavior.
(ScienceDaily, University of Exeter) Scientists have identified more than 1,500 genetic differences between migratory and non-migratory hover flies.
(ScienceDaily, University of Bristol) By analyzing a tribe of Neotropical butterflies found in the Amazonian rainforests of eastern Ecuador, researchers were able to show that habitat shifts – indicated by mimicry pattern – accurately predict changes in brain structure, particularly in areas of the butterfly brain which process visual information.
Photo: Matt Somerville
(China Dialogue) Managed honey bees die off in huge numbers each year. A movement of beekeepers hopes to buck the trend by learning from wild bees and Europe’s traditional practices. Piotr Piłasiewicz currently looks after eight honey bee colonies that live high up in the pines and spruces of Augustów Primeval Forest in northeast Poland. He is a founding member of Bractwo Bartne – the Tree Beekeeping Brotherhood – an organization that works to preserve a tradition practiced in Central Europe since the Middle Ages.
(Twitter, British Ecological Society @BritishEcolSoc) “Submissions to #CapturingEcology 2022 #PhotoCompetition are still OPEN for just under a month!”
(Oregon State University) The project involved training a machine learning model to predict whether any proposed new herbicide, fungicide or insecticide would be toxic to honey bees based on the compound’s molecular structure.
(Earth.com) The “waggle dance” is performed by honey bees to alert one another to the location of nectar-rich flowers. Inspired by this technique, researchers have devised a new way for robots to communicate. The new technique could be most valuable when robots are needed yet network communications are unreliable, such as in a disaster zone or in space.
(Tech Times) Bumble bees are typically used to pollinate plants in glasshouses all over the world. However, they are prohibited in Australia, so pollination must be done manually. Hence, prominent Australian fresh produce company Costa Group is deploying AI to implement robotic pollination in one of its tomato glasses, thanks to its partnership with Israeli firm Arugga AI Farming.
One More Thing…
Warning: Explicit bee content. From shirts that go hard @shirtsthtgohard via Twitter.