First mainland records of unusual island bee. Coffee plants get bigger boost from bees. Saving America's Pollinators Act (re)introduced. Nocturnal bees use forest canopy to navigate.

Conservation

First mainland records of an unusual island bee

(Twitter, Michael Orr @mc_orr) “Intrepid community scientists braved COVID19 to document new mainland records of an unusual orange subspecies of bee normally only found on San Clemente Island, California.” Original paper. Photo and sighting.

Bee-friendly urban wildflower meadows prove a hit with German city dwellers

(The Guardian) Berlin has set aside 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million) to seed and nurture more than 50 wild gardens over a five-year period, while Munich has set up about 30 meadows since 2018. There are similar initiatives in Stuttgart, Leipzig and Braunschweig. Hamburg, which started the trend in 2015, this month unveiled the first of a series of bee-friendly flower beds atop bus shelters. Germany is home to about 580 species of wild bee, of which an estimated 300 can be found in Berlin. More than half are endangered or on the verge of extinction.

Wild bees need deadwood in the forest

(Universität Freiburg) How many tree species are there in the forest? How are the trees scattered throughout? How high are the individual tree crowns? Are there fallen trees or hollowed-out tree trunks? Structural richness is very important for biodiversity in forests. But forests used for forestry are generally poor in terms of structure. New research investigates has found that creating deadwood in coniferous forests is a promising restoration measure to promote the abundance of above-ground nesting bees.

Mexico’s bee guardians on mission to save species

(Phys.org) The bee protection organization Abeja Negra SOS carries out more than 200 rescues a year to protect the insects from dangers such as humans and pesticides. The five-woman team offers its services for free to help safeguard the bees.


Economics

Bees give coffee plants a bigger boost than previously thought

(Daily Coffee News) An investigation led by the Colombian national coffee research agency Cenicafé and German multinational pharmaceutical company Bayer AG identified 88 species of native bees in the coffeelands of Colombia, and 250 species of insects visiting coffee flowers overall.It should be noted that the study has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published independently by a third-party scientific journal. It was also co-conducted by Bayer, a maker and seller of pesticides. Yet a key takeaway from the study was the importance of bees and pollinators in increasing the percent fruit set among coffee plants.


Policy/Law

Earl Blumenauer wants to ban bee-killing pesticides. Is Congress listening?

(Civil Eats) This week Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) (re)introduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act for a third time. The day before he introduced the bill, Blumenauer spoke with Civil Eats. He admits the bill has little chance of advancing or becoming law, but the congressman is still convinced that banning neonicotinoid pesticides is critical and describes what the path forward looks like.

Secretary Haaland signs proclamation for Pollinator Week

(Twitter, US Department of the Interior) “It’s National Pollinator Week... @SecDebHaaland signed a proclamation to celebrate the importance of pollinators in our wild and urban landscapes. Do your part by creating a welcoming habitat for pollinators to thrive.”

Legal experts worldwide draw up ‘historic’ definition of ecocide

(The Guardian) Legal experts from across the globe have drawn up a “historic” definition of ecocide, intended to be adopted by the international criminal court to prosecute the most egregious offenses against the environment.


Science

Nocturnal sweat bees use landmarks in forest canopy above to navigate

(Sci-News.com) The sweat bee Megalopta genalis, a Neotropical nocturnal bee species that navigates under the forest canopy at light intensities 10 times dimmer than starlight, is able to learn dorsal landmarks to find its nest during homing, the first flying insect known with this capacity.

The humidity of flowers acts as an invisible attractor for bumble bees

(EurekAlert, University of Bristol) The new research showed that bumble bees could be trained to differentiate between two types of artificial flower with different levels of humidity, if only one of the types of flower provided the bee with a reward of sugar water.

Pollens to fit a honey bee’s every season

(USDA ARS) Whether the pollen honey bees collect comes from spring or fall flowers can be a vital factor in supporting the annual cycle of behaviors that sustain a honey bee colony, according to a new study. To determine if nutrients in spring and fall pollens differ and if their nutrients align to support seasonal activities, the scientists compared spring and fall pollen collected by bees in central Iowa and southern Arizona.

Amygdalin in almond nectar can reduce viruses and gut parasites in honey bees

(USDA ARS) A study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service shows that amygdalin – a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in the nectar and pollen of almond trees – decreased levels of chronic bee paralysis virus, black queen cell virus and deformed wing virus. The bees also showed increased levels of beneficial gut bacteria and lower levels of the gut parasite Lotmaria passim.

Bee-impersonating flies show pollinator potential

(EurekAlert, Washington State University) An observational study in Western Washington found that out of more than 2,400 pollinator visits to flowers at urban and rural farms about 35% of were made by flies – most of which were the black-and-yellow-striped syrphid flies, also called hover flies. For a few plants, including peas, kale and lilies, flies were the only pollinators observed. Overall, bees were still the most common, accounting for about 61% of floral visits, but the rest were made by other insects and spiders.


Society/Culture

13 year old beekeeper from Hiawatha First Nation heading to Russia for apiary competition

(APTN) Olivia Wilson will be a part of the international meeting of young beekeepers’ competition in Russia in 2022. “We are the caretakers of the land and knowing that without bees, we wouldn’t have plants, we wouldn’t have food, wouldn’t have all those things and having people really understand and respect the bee and the various kinds of bees.”

For the butterflies – and the rest of us

(New York Times) “But if you ask someone with a mosquito company’s sign in their yard why they are killing all their lightning bugs, why they are killing all their bumblebees and butterflies, they will look at you blankly. They don’t know they’re killing every invertebrate in their yard and starving out all the animals — birds and amphibians and reptiles and many mammals — who depend on insects for food. They never gave it any thought at all.”


Technology

Meet the robot pollinators replacing bees in Japan

(Engineer Live) Japanese government scientists have estimated that bee numbers in the country have declined by 40% in the last 9 years, so XAG – an agriculture drone service provider – has devised a new robot to replace them.


One More Thing…

Check out the video of these tiny bees collecting pollen from the back of a bigger bee. “Don’t forget that your polen may come from unexpected places” From Natalia S. Araujo @nat2bee via Twitter.