Glyphosate persists for years in wild plants. Bumble Bee Atlas Blitz coming up. Feds plan to spray insecticides on Montana grasslands. Bees prefer flowers in forests (surprise!)

Conservation

Glyphosate pesticides persist for years in wild plants and cause flower infertility

(EurekAlert, Frontiers) Researchers show for first time that commonly used herbicides can persist within wild forest plants for years, reducing fertility long-term and potentially also impacting pollinators. A follow-up study will investigate whether coloration changes in the affected flowers make them less or more attractive to pollinators. The researchers will also test pollinator insects and hummingbird feces to see if glyphosate residue is present.

Bumble Bee Atlas Survey Blitz coming up

(Twitter, Minnesota Bumble Bee Atlas @MNBumbleBees) “Still thinking about adopting a grid? Here is a long list of grid cells where we THINK rusty patched bumble bee is probably hanging out undocumented. All open for adoption.”

(Twitter, PNW Bumblebee Atlas @pnwbumblebees) “Okay, PNW Bumble Bee Atlas fans. @MO_BumbleBees and @neBumbleBees have challenged us to a Bumble Bee Atlas Blitz. We started this, let’s show them how it is done! First #BBAtlasBlitz is June 26 & 27. Great way to end Pollinator Week. Plan your surveys accordingly!”

Dead Asian giant hornet near Seattle is first found in US this year

(The Guardian) Given the time of year, that it was a male and that the specimen was exceptionally dry, entomologists believe it was an old hornet from a previous season that wasn’t discovered until now. New males usually don’t emerge until at least July.


Policy/Law

Feds plan insecticide sprays across 2.6 million acres of Montana grasslands, threatening pollinators and organic farms

(Xerces Society) he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is currently soliciting contract bids for insecticide sprays across Eastern Montana. More than 2.6 million acres of Montana grasslands are identified in the bids as potential areas for aerial sprays, to suppress native species of grasshoppers. The insecticides will be applied aerially starting in mid-June, with the drift putting at risk organic farms and a national wildlife refuge adjacent to the proposed spray areas, as well beneficial insects within the spray blocks.

Maine governor signs bill to save the bees

(Environment Maine) Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill which restricts the use of neonicotinoids into law on Thursday, June 10. LD 155, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Grohoski of Ellsworth, prohibits the use of the most harmful neonic pesticides in residential landscapes. The bill won bipartisan support in the Maine State Legislature, which passed it on June 7.

UN: Don’t forget to save species while fixing global warming

(AP) A joint report by separate U.N. scientific bodies that look at climate change and biodiversity loss found there are ways to simultaneously attack the two global problems, but some fixes to warming could accelerate extinctions of plants and animals. For example, measures such as expansion of bioenergy crops like corn, or efforts to pull carbon dioxide from the air and bury it, could use so much land – twice the size of India – that the impact would be “fairly catastrophic on biodiversity”.


Science

Forest management that promotes flowers could benefit pollinators

(Twitter, Codey Mathis @CodeyMathis) “Tl;dr: bees and butterflies prefer when there’s flowers in forests (surprise!), so make sure you have a diverse understory that support year-long floral diversity. NOT just blueberry and ferns!” Original paper.

A closer look at honey bees’ gut microbes

(EurekAlert, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology) Environmental bacteria and fungi that end up in the belly of honeybees may be essential to their survival in a changing world as bee populations dwindle due to pesticides, poor nutrition, habitat destruction and declining genetic diversity. Extensive research into the microbiome of the European honey bee has focused on several bee-specific bacteria whose functions and distribution throughout the gut are now well understood. However, overlooked are the minor members of the microbiome, such as bacteria and fungi that the bees inadvertently ingest while foraging.

Rarest bee genus in North America is not so rare after all

(EurekAlert, Canadian Museum of Nature) Canadian researchers have discovered that a bee thought to be one of the rarest in the world, as the only representative of its genus, is no more than an unusual specimen of a widespread species.


Society/Culture

Bee slumber party project has over 1,000 observations

(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “The iNaturalist project ‘Sleepy bee slumber parties’ has reached the milestone of 1111 observations!” This is an iNaturalist project to collect pictures of sleeping (or sleepy) bees.

Beekeeping has become popular in Boston thanks to pandemic

(CBS Boston) The Best Bees Company is working with people all over the city. They install a hive, check on the bees, and harvest the honey. Right now, there are close to 700 honey bee colonies in Boston. Best Bees collect data from each hive to track the bees’ trends over the years and to make sure they are healthy.


Technology

Tech firms use remote monitoring to help honey bees

(BBC) “In a regular beehive, with a wooden box, there’s about 10,000 to 50,000, or maybe even 100,000 bees. That’s a lot of data to analyse, and the AI is doing it in split seconds. It can identify what's going on, and apply the right treatment.”


One More Thing…

“Two-Eyed Seeing – looking at things with both an Indigenous and Western lens.” For all of us who are fascinated by and aspiring to better understand the world we’re part of, this story by Kelly Boutsalis is an absolutely brilliant read.