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Growing a highway for U.K.'s insect ‘commuters’. Endangered Species Act restored in U.S. Reflections on the state of bee monitoring.
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Photo: Chelsea Lee
(CNN) Imagine traveling vast distances through a barren wilderness without access to food or water. That’s the challenging reality facing many flying insects in the U.K. Buglife has identified 150,000 hectares (580 square miles) of land across the U.K. that it wants to restore to wildflower meadows. The hope is that these meadows can be connected to form a nationwide insect “commuter” network, called B-lines, which will provide nectar-rich pit stops for pollinators.
(The Globe and Mail) Sheila Colla was an undergraduate at the University of Toronto when she first became interested in the rusty patched bumble bee. It was about 2004, and she was working with a PhD student studying bee diseases when they noticed a worrying trend: The rusty patched bumble bee was conspicuously absent. “If you had 100 bumble bees in Southern Ontario in the seventies, 15 of them would have been the rusty patched. We were collecting hundreds of bumble bees and not finding it.”
(UC News) Sylvana Ross, a biology alumna and talented former track athlete from the University of Cincinnati, is working with UC’s beekeeping club as well as the Queen City Pollinators Project, helping Cincinnatians protect the city’s declining pollinator populations while promoting environmental sustainability for the entire community.
(Scientific American) From the depths of the ocean to the peaks of mountains, species are moving out of their historical homes in search of cooler conditions.
Photo: NSW DPI
(ABC News) The varroa mite has been detected in Narrabri, with the NSW Department of Primary Industries linking it to previously known cases in Newcastle. Acting Chief Plant Protection Officer Chris Anderson said the affected honey bee hives were stored for several months next to an already affected hive in Newcastle before being moved to Narrabri.
(Sunshine Coast News) A University of the Sunshine Coast researcher is investigating whether spider and scorpion venoms have the potential to save Australia’s honey bees from the invasive and deadly varroa mite parasite. “Now, halfway into my project, and after screening over 240 arachnid venoms against varroa mites, we have four lead molecules that we are currently characterising to identify the best possible candidate. Unfortunately, these will take several more years to develop, so they can’t be applied to control the present outbreak in New South Wales.”
Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle, Getty Images
(CNN) The Trump overhaul changed how the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration considered whether species qualify for federal protections. It could have significantly lengthened how long it takes for a species to become protected, which had the impact of taking a number of species out of consideration for protections.
(Greenwire) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set new restrictions on the use of three commonly used pesticides, including the highly controversial chemical chlorpyrifos – which is toxic to bees. All the pesticides are highly toxic to mammals, fish and aquatic invertebrates, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries.
(Barbados Government Information Service) The management of the National Conservation Commission is encouraging those who participated in its Beekeeping course to establish hives in the apiary at its Codrington, St. Michael location. Participants were also encouraged to plant dunks trees and white and purple basil trees to encourage honey bees to pollinate.
Photo: Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar
(Zach Portman) “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about bee monitoring again, especially since there continue to be calls to implement large-scale bee monitoring programs in the US and elsewhere. In some ways the field is moving in good directions, with many scientists pursing new and innovative approaches but at the same time, other researchers seem intent on doubling-down on the same old ineffective techniques. Here, I’ve put down on paper some of my reflections on our impact, address some of the misunderstandings of our work, highlight some good research that has come out since, discuss the taxonomic bottleneck, and speculate on the future of bee monitoring.”
(The Conversation) Honey bees are useful not only to humans but to other “free riders” attracted to their stored resources. The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is one of the species that rely on honey bee colonies to reproduce and survive. The adult beetle lays eggs on bee brood frames, full of honey and pollen. The beetle larvae then eat through these rich food sources. The consequences for the bee colony can be lethal. The beetle larval activity causes the honey and pollen stores to start fermenting and the beetle larvae prey on the bee larvae and pupae.
(Twitter, Liam Kendall @pollimetry) “You can use our model to predict the foraging ranges for all of your favourite bees within the pollimetry R package” Original paper
(Phys.org) Prior research and anecdotal evidence has suggested that insects do not feel pain. Because of this, humans have found it easy to harm or kill them. In this new effort, the researchers suggest our assumptions may have been wrong.
One More Thing…
Can never get enough of Krystle Hickman’s @BeeSipOnline excellent work. Here’s Perdita cf. californica, in a Calichortus weedii, in the Cleveland National Forest.