City bees benefit most from specific urban greening. Bayer pulling glyphosate. Odor learning bees have longer foraging careers. Flower flies can be a vector for common bee parasite.
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(Ohio State University) Converting vacant urban lots into green spaces can reduce blight and improve neighborhoods, and new research shows that certain types of such post-industrial reclamation efforts offer the added bonus of benefiting bees.
(OurQuadCities.com) Niabi Zoo, already home to more than 250 species, has confirmed the presence of a population of endangered rusty patch bumble bees on its grounds in Coal Valley, Illinois. While not actually part of its animal collection, The rusty patch bumble bee presence is in no small part, due to the efforts of zoo staff in returning portions of the zoo grounds to native plantings.
(Fairfield Citizen) After over 100 years, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the black-and-gold bumble bee has been recorded in Connecticut again. The agency said three of these bees were seen in three different parts of the state so far this year. Connecticut has about 15 species of bumble bees, including the rusty patched bumble bee, on the federal endangered list, and the yellow-banded bumble bee, on the state list.
(Newark Advertiser) The grizzled skipper has been discovered in restored areas of Bantycock Quarry near Newark after years of carefully planned biodiversity work. It was identified by consultant ecologist Rachel Blackham, who undertakes regular checks on site to ensure that wildlife is not disturbed by the quarry operation. “One of the aims of restoration at Bantycock is to create more of this type of habitat, which will be specifically managed to encourage grizzled skipper to also colonise other areas of the site.”
(La Jolla Light) After noticing dead bees by the dozens in and around La Jolla, California, some people are raising questions about why the bees died, including whether pesticides had anything to do with it. According to experts approached the answer is – maybe – or maybe not.
(Boise State Public Radio) The landscape of the Treasure Valley is changing as new development replaces farmland and other open spaces. That can make it tough for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to find the flowering plants they need to survive. That’s where the Treasure Valley Pollinator Project comes in. The project is the brainchild of the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District. The idea is to increase pollinator habitat – and the number of pollinators in the Treasure Valley – by having people plant 32 different flowers.
(Nature) Many communities aren’t losing biodiversity, but ecosystems are changing rapidly and the future is far from rosy.
(ABC News) The spider wasp, Epipompilus namadgi, is very rare. It was scientifically identified from a single specimen that was discovered in 2018 – well before wildfire roared through the national park where it was found. Now scientists are looking for the spider wasp, hoping it has survived the fires; hoping that one specimen was not the first, and the last, Namadgi spider wasp to be seen by modern scientists.
(Farm Journal) Bayer officials announced the company is removing glyphosate from the U.S. residential lawn and garden marketplace, effective as early as January 2023. The company will replace glyphosate in the lawn and garden marketplace with active ingredients that are already known and well-established. Bayer officials said farmers and retailers – described as professional and agricultural users – will continue to have access to glyphosate for weed control.
(The Guardian) Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said outlawing chemical spraying in the country’s 22 million private gardens, along with road verges, parks and other green spaces, could slow insect decline by creating a network of nature-friendly habitats where insects can recover. In a recently-launched petition, Goulson urged the government to follow the example of France, which banned all use of synthetic pesticides in public spaces in 2017, and banned garden use from 2019. The campaign has been backed by the RSPB, Parkinson’s UK, the Soil Association and other environmental groups.
(USA Today) Some social media users claim the Danish government is attempting to protect threatened bee populations by requiring farmers to grow field flowers on 5% of their land. This claim is FALSE. The Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said there is no such law. There is an EU program that incentivizes Danish farmers to use a portion of their land in ways beneficial to biodiversity, but it is not a requirement.
(West Bridgford Wire) Rushcliffe Borough Council is asking residents to give their views on its current trial ‘No Mow’ summer pollinator sites that are encouraging wildlife and habitats to thrive even further and how these spaces are managed going forward. Its online summer pollinator survey is now available for residents to give their views on the managed sites until September 30.
(Twitter, Nigel Raine @NigelERaine) A new paper “found that #bumblebees able to learn to use a particular scent as a predictor of food rewards also had a longer foraging career & brought in more food (nectar & pollen) to their colony” Original paper
(Twitter, Abby Davis @notsocrabbyabby) “Flowers can be transmission platforms for parasites that impact bee health, yet bees share floral resources Cherry with other pollinators, like flies. We inoculated bee-mimicking drone flies with the common, multi-host bee parasiteMicrobe, Crithidia bombi, and found the parasite did not replicate (cause an active infection) in the flies. However, 93% of inoculated flies defecated live parasites in their first fecal event!” Original paper
(Twitter, Ricardo Caliari Oliveira @ri_caliari) “we use RFIDs to track a stingless bee for four months in the Brazilian Amazon, showing how managed bee populations are affected by biotic and abiotic factors. A staggering 65% of the bees drifted to at least one foreign nest nearby” Original paper
(Phys.org) Exposure to a cocktail of agrochemicals significantly increases bee mortality, according to new research that says regulators may be underestimating the dangers of pesticides in combination. The new meta-analysis of dozens of published studies over the last 20 years looked at the interaction between agrochemicals, parasites and malnutrition on bee behaviors – such as foraging, memory, colony reproduction – and health. Researchers found that when these different stressors interacted they had a negative effect on bees, greatly increasing the likelihood of death.
(ScienceDaily, University of California - Riverside) The dangers of neonics likely can’t be watered down. That’s the conclusion of a new study showing an insecticide made for commercial plant nurseries is harmful to a typical bee even when applied well below the label rate and the plant receives high levels of irrigation.
(Intelligencer) You’ve probably seen the newspaper headlines heralding an “insect apocalypse.” Some accounts are more measured than others, but the underlying studies are quite grim, especially for a bee ecologist like Dave Goulson. The title of his new book, “Silent Earth”, echoes the warning of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, the seminal environmental treatise published in 1962. Amid chapters celebrating insects, analyzing the causes of their declines, and suggesting a kind of road map back to population stability, it includes a dark interlude sketching out what the world might look like if all the trends that have produced these population crashes are allowed to continue.
(Suzanne M. Matheson) “Last year I received a request from the University of Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER) to commission some natural science illustrations... Their objective was to bring together the natural sciences (their researchers), the social sciences (representatives of ‘end user’ organizations who know about how research results should be presented), and the arts (artists who bring more creativity to the conversation).”
One More Thing…
(Brain Pickings) In the 1940s, Paul Sougy – a curator of natural history at the science museum of the French city of Orléans, and a gifted artist – was commissioned by the estate of the pioneering 18th-century French naturalist and anatomist Louis Thomas Jérôme Auzoux to create a series of illustrations based on Auzoux’s work, to be used in textbooks, workbooks, transparencies, and large-scale educational charts for classroom walls.
Over the next two decades, Sougy proceeded to draw some uncommonly beautiful and distinctive diagrams of the natural world: bats and butterflies and sea urchins; pines and ferns and peas; the human brain and heart and respiratory system; the fly, Willam Blake’s existential muse; the horse, that emancipator of human love; moss, that subtle teacher in the art of seeing.
And, of course, the bee.