MA bumble bees in trouble. Neonics have sub-lethal effects on non-honey bees. Butterflies more murderous than they look. Stop carpenter bees from remodeling your home (without killing them).

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Conservation

Massachusetts bumble bees are in trouble

(Zach Portman) “A recent visit to my home state of Massachusetts inspired me to examine how bumblebees there have changed over time. By comparing iNaturalist records with historic accounts from scientist Otto Plath, I found clear declines in multiple species”

Why has the UK’s wet summer been bad for bees?

(The Conversation) Simply put, increasingly wet summers either destroy the flowers that native bees depend on as food or limit the amount of time some bees (like honey bees) spend out in the environment looking for what food is left.


Policy/Law

New program aims to reverse wild pollinator losses in Europe

(Twitter, Riccardo Bommarco @BommarcoLab) “Today we started the @Safeguard2021 project!! It is funded by the European Union... @Safeguard2021 will address the status and trends of wild #pollinators in Europe.” Safeguard Project


Science

Field-realistic neonic exposure has sub-lethal effects on non-honey bees

(Twitter, Dr Felicity Muth @felicitymuth) “In a meta-analysis we found that neonicotinoids affected bees’ reproductive output, amongst other things. We highlight the need for considering more species” Original paper

Wild bumble bee colony abundance predicts pollination services

(Twitter, Margarita Lopez-U @mmlopezu) “New paper... demonstrating that higher number of #bumblebee colonies (not counts) in pumpkin agroecosystems provide more pollination services” Original paper

Milkweed butterflies are more murderous than they look

(New York Times) Butterflies seem gentle as they flutter from plant to plant. But some may be more murderous than you imagine. Naturalists recently witnessed several species of milkweed butterfly harassing, subduing and subsequently feeding on milkweed caterpillars, presumably to get their fill of toxic alkaloids inside the larvae. Although butterflies had previously been observed feeding on grasshoppers that harbor toxic alkaloids, no one had ever documented adult butterflies stealing such compounds from their own kin.

In Missouri, a human ‘bee’ works to better understand climate change’s effects

(Scientific American) Missouri wildflowers are blooming up to a week longer than they used to, creating a late summer pileup of species flowering all at once. Which means a flower could get the wrong pollen from the pollinators flitting back and forth among them.

Field guides for Mediterranean pollinators

(Twitter, FLOWer Lab @cfe_FLOWerLab) “The @4Pollinators project, launched several field guides about pollinators in the Mediterranean.” Field guides


Society/Culture

Simple ways to get carpenter bees to stop remodeling your home

(Popular Science) None of these tips involve extermination. Instead, we’re talking about almond or citrus oil, painting wood, and wind chimes.

Vote for bumble bee project to receive UK lottery funding

(The National Lottery) Each week National Lottery players in the UK raise millions of pounds for good causes. Since the very first National Lottery draw in 1994, player support has funded more than 635,000 projects, raising more than £43 billion for good causes. Pollinating the Peak is an ambitious natural heritage project trying to revive bumble bee numbers. The project is based in Derbyshire and has a focus on the Bilberry bumble bee, a Peak District priority species.


Technology

Big-Bee: An initiative to promote understanding of bees through image and trait digitization

(Pensoft, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards) “Extending Anthophila Research Through Image and Trait Digitization (Big-Bee) is a newly funded US National Science Foundation Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections project. Over the course of three years, we will create over one million high-resolution 2D and 3D images of bee specimens, representing over 5,000 worldwide bee species, including most of the major pollinating species.”


One More Thing…

Because wow: How metal-infused jaws give some ants an exceptionally sharp bite.

Scientists already knew that some small animals’ piercing and slashing body parts are infused with metals such as zinc and manganese, making the parts tough and durable. Now, a new study shows how these tool-like appendages form hard and extremely sharp cutting edges. The team found that zinc atoms were dispersed homogeneously, rather than in chunks, throughout a single tooth. This uniformity allows the ants to grow much thinner, sharper blades, since chunks of mineral limit how sharp the tool can be.