Feds announce recovery plan for bumble bee, critics say it misses the mark. Scorecard: Are grocery retailers doing enough to save the bees? Xerces Society distributes thousands of pollinator plants.

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Conservation

Xerces Society distributes thousands of pollinator-friendly plants for free

(Santa Fe New Mexican) The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation distributed 11,550 native plants to residents and organizations throughout Santa Fe as part of its Santa Fe Pollinator Trail program. The aim of the project is to address habitat loss in the city by introducing new pockets of climate-resistant plants.

Why is it important to monitor urban bee populations?

(Utah Public Radio) Researchers wanted to know which conditions are best for city bees. So they created an experiment using vacant lots in Cleveland. They found that urban bee populations thrived in flowering prairies with native plants and areas with lots of surrounding green space.

Washington to destroy third murder hornet nest in battle to save bees

(The Guardian) A third Asian giant hornet nest was discovered in Washington state, a day after entomologists discovered a second. The state agriculture department tweeted that it planned to eradicate the nest and would have more updates soon.


Economics

Scorecard: Are major U.S. grocery stores doing enough to save the bees?

(Food Tank) This year’s Bee-Friendly Retailer Scorecard from Friends of the Earth reveals that some of the largest U.S. grocery stores are beginning to take action to protect bees from toxic pesticides.

1.5 million bees burned alive in suspected arson

(Times of Malta) The suspected arson occurred at an apiary on Gozo Island in Malta. Unknown individuals placed tires under 28 hives and set them on fire, causing around 10,000 euros in immediate damage. “To this we should add the biological and moral damage because episodes like this leave an indelible mark. I love bees and I have dedicated my life to them and seeing them exterminated in this way really hurts.”


Policy/Law

Feds’ plan to save endangered rusty patched bumble bee misses mark, critics say

(WTTW) A federal recovery plan is a road map, not a regulatory document, on how to help a species reach the point at which it can be de-listed. Critics say the recovery plan for the rusty patched bumble bee goes too far and yet not far enough at the same time.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces final plan to recover the endangered rusty patched bumble bee

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) The final recovery plan for the rusty patched bumble bee includes actions such as land management to improve floral resources and measures to reduce exposure to pesticides and disease-causing pathogens. Raising awareness about the species and engaging private citizens and groups are also key to recovery.

Kansas City man could go to court for wildflower garden

(KCUR) Dennis Moriarty planted 1,500 square feet of wildflowers in front of his home to attract pollinators. Now he faces a city citation and a possible court date if he doesn't trim the garden back.


Science

Pollinators contribute to flowering plant diversity

(Holden Forests & Gardens) For years, scientists have been puzzled by how numerous rare plant species coexist with abundant species in diverse communities when pollinator service is often limited in nature and plants compete with one another for those pollinators. New research has found that specialization between flowering plants and pollinators can be greater than expected, and rare plants seemed more likely to form specialized relationships with pollinators to ensure their reproduction and persistence. What’s more, flower characteristics can be important predictors of specialization.

Global trends in the number and diversity of managed pollinators

(Twitter, JuliaOsterman @osterman_julia) “So what did we find? The number of honey bee colonies has risen by 85% since 1961... In contrast, overwinter mortalities of colonies remain high especially in North America... Apart from honey bees we found 65 other species that can be managed to pollinate crops...” Original paper

Four new species of stingless bees from South America described

(Twitter, Christoph Grüter @chris_LeDuck) “4 new (very cute) stingless bees from South America (Plebeia, new subgenus Nanoplebeia Engel) described... That makes ~8 new stingless bee species so far in 2021, the running average is about 1 species every 2-3 months. And so much to do!” Original paper

Which Echinacea is most attractive to pollinators?

(Mt. Cuba Center) As part of a larger project, Mt. Cuba Center conducted a pollinator survey to determine the Echinacea cultivars that are most attractive to pollinating insects. This data was collected and compiled by the Pollinator Watch Team, a group of dedicated citizen scientists who observe and tally insect visitation to help determine ecological value of plants in our trials. For Echinacea, special attention was paid to the difference between single and double flowers in their ability to attract pollinators.

Wingtip folds and ripples on moths create decoy echoes against bats

(Twitter, Tom Neil @drtomneil) “Many large silk moths have rippled and folded wing tips. Here we show that they are acoustic decoys. The left panel on this image is created using sound, with red indicating that very strong echoes would return to a hunting bat from this region” Original paper


Society/Culture

Artist re-creates scent of extinct flowers

(Scientific American) Where others might seek to reconstruct a woolly mammoth from centuries-old DNA sequences, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is part of an interdisciplinary project to recreate the scents of plant species lost to human colonial destruction of their habitat. For her art installation “Resurrecting the Sublime”, she collaborated with the scent researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas and the biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks. The installation has been shown around the world.


One More Thing…

The Met Gala spectacle as bees. A Twitter thread by Emily May @emtomology.