Lost Dutch bee returns. The pandemic broke the honey bee supply chain. Bees gobble up fake pollen from orchids. Biodiversity should start in Biden's backyard.


Lost forest bumble bee returns in the Netherlands

(Nature Today, in Dutch) The forest bumble bee (Bombus sylvarum) was observed by students during a monitoring study that is part of the Geuldal Forest Bumblebee initiative. This is a partnership of eleven parties that manage nature areas, water buffers, roadsides, field margins and hedges in the Geul Valley. The initiative was named after the species that disappeared from the landscape and is a symbol of biodiversity restoration. Google Translate.

Survey to count bumble bee populations in Utah to start in June

(KPCW) There are 18 total bumble bee species in Utah, but it’s unclear what rare species populations look like throughout the state. If there’s a decline in some species it could indicate a larger problem about environmental health and other species that are relying on these habitats.

Saving Malaysia’s bees, one nest at a time

(Free Malaysia Today) In Malaysia, green activists founded the “My Bee Savior Association” to help stem the decline. When the group is tipped off about nests in areas such as under roofs and near trees, their volunteers try to carefully remove the bees and take them to new sites. Part of My Bee Savior Association’s work is to try to convince official bodies such as the fire service to deal with bees in a different way

Could wider use of gene reserves protect rare species?

(EurekAlert, University of York) New research shows that U.K. landowners and conservationists welcome wider-spread use of Gene Conservation Units to help protect some of the rarest plants and insects. Gene Conservation Units are areas of land managed to allow the recovery of species, and maintain evolutionary processes to enable them to adapt to environmental change.

Do we really need to protect every species from extinction?

(Discover) In the face of tough decisions about human lifestyles and the climate crisis, a split among scientists is surfacing. Losing one species may not change life as we know it, so perhaps our limited conservation resources should focus on preserving the biodiversity in those systems where it benefits humans. Sometimes, such as when dense forests prevent landslides, a great diversity of species isn’t needed to perform this function. Essentially, we must ask the question: How should we value life?

‘Conservation Dogs’ are sniffing out species humans can’t see

(reasons to be cheerful) Biologists can’t spot them. Technology doesn’t detect them. But nothing escapes The Nose.


The pandemic that broke the honey bee supply chain

(Allison McAfee) “If you were a cattle rancher, and every winter a quarter of your animals perished, you would have a problem. Now, say your replacement livestock is supplied by annual cargo shipments from the other side of the planet, and you might even think that approach to farming isn’t viable. Welcome to beekeeping. Canada’s beekeeping industry is vulnerable to border closures and we need a sustainable, domestic supply.”

Scientists follow the honey bees to learn about colony survival

(Washington State University) Millions of honey bees are trucked across America each year, pollinating almonds, apples, melons, and many more crops. This spring, scientists are following the journey and inspecting hives to get a clearer picture of colony health across the annual cycle of pollination.

Comvita pledges to save five million bees in honor of World Bee Day

(PR Newswire, Comvita) “Nine beekeepers located from Santa Barbara, CA to Rockford, MI to Miami, FL will receive up to $2,000 in grants to perform ten beehive rescues each in their local communities, assist other regional beekeepers in performing rescues, or grow more pollinator-friendly plants to encourage a healthy ecosystem for the bees. The hives found in undesirable locations will be safely relocated and maintained by these beekeepers to support the bees in the hive and the strength of the queen bee. Bee-education and real-time rescue content from the beekeepers will be shared on Comvita’s social media channels.”


Biodiversity conservation should start in Biden’s backyard

(Scientific American) The president can set a powerful example for the U.S. and the world by filling the White House grounds with America’s native plants and animals. If the Biden-Harris administration needs planting suggestions, they can look to the beautiful native wildflower genus Bidens which supports more than 10 percent of the region’s pollen-specialist native bee species.

EU top court upholds ban on Bayer pesticides linked to harming bees

(Reuters) The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta's thiamethoxam.

11-year-old girl urges Illinois lawmakers to ‘Save the Bees’

(mystateline.com) Scarlett Harper, 11, is trying to create a buzz at the state capitol. She’s a well-versed environmentalist who is banking on lawmakers to help her save the environment one bug at a time. When companies were spraying for mosquitos last summer, Scarlett said she saw it affecting the bee population too. So she took action. She reached out to her state representative. The conversation resulted in House Bill 3118: The Bee Bill.


Bees and hoverflies gobble fake pollen, benefiting both insect and plant

(Science) Orchids are among the most devious flowering plants on the planet. Many species trick pollinators into helping them reproduce. Some release sex pheromones that attract male insects, whereas others make fake pollen to tempt bees and other pollinators with the promise of a meal. Scientists have now shown this pseudopollen isn’t just an alluring counterfeit: It’s as nutritious as the real thing.

The deep history of the mason bees

(PolliNation) Mason bees in the subgenus Osmia emerged sometime before the ice-age, likely in Europe and Asia, but they radiated into North America early on in their history, resulting in one of the most beloved solitary bees, the blue orchard bee.

Learning on the fly

(ScienceDaily, University of Sussex) Computational model demonstrates similarity in how humans and insects learn about their surroundings.

Glyphosate inhibits symbiotic bacteria in the saw-toothed grain beetle

(ScienceDaily, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology) Saw-toothed grain beetles live in a symbiotic association with bacteria. Their bacterial partners provide important building blocks for the formation of the insect’s exoskeleton, which protects the beetles from their enemies as well as from desiccation. In a new study, a team of scientists demonstrates that glyphosate inhibits the symbiotic bacteria of the grain beetle. Beetles exposed to the weedkiller no longer receive the building blocks they need from the bacteria.

Why plants are seeding climate studies

(Smithsonian) By studying living plants and their leafy predecessors, scientists can see how plants have adapted to environmental fluctuation over the last century. And this research finds its roots in the United States National Herbarium’s 5 million plant specimens. “All of these specimens come with a place where and a time when they were collected. We are using that information to chart how species’ appearances and distributions have changed.”


Species solidarity: Rediscovering our connection to the web of life

(Yale Environment 360) “... I challenged myself to avoid the words ‘nature’, ‘wild’, and ‘wilderness’, unless I was quoting someone or could clearly define the term. After using these words for decades as an environmental journalist, I thought they would be difficult to set aside, but they weren’t. Banning them from my vocabulary simply forced me to think a little harder about what I wanted to say... I found that the habit also shifted my own perspective: I now find it easier to remember that my human household is part of an ecosystem — one populated with, and supported by, a variety of species living in relationship with one another.”

New BQ Magazine launches

(BQ Magazine) Bees & Pollinators Quarterly, “the UK’s first bees and other pollinators magazine for people who love nature and want to help it thrive”, launched May 4.

One More Thing…

“Because nothing goes better with cacti and rocks than velocity and airbags.” From Planthropology @Planthropology_ via Twitter.