Not all sunflowers are the bee's knees. New bees in Vermont. Important pollinators in Tajikistan. And Goblin bees.

Conservation

New bees discovered in Vermont with worldwide teamwork

(Vermont Atlas of Life) The Vermont Wild Bee Survey has amassed over 50,000 bee records and discovered over 50 new bee species for the state in just two years. Three new bee discoveries in June highlights the teamwork of volunteer naturalists, field biologists, and bee identification experts.

Rare bumble bees in Welsh landscape

(Twitter, SEWBReC @SEWBReC) “*Calling all Welsh land managers & conservation professionals!* LERC Wales has been working with @BumblebeeTrust to analyse Welsh landscapes for 7 species of rare bumblebees, & we would love to share our findings with you at our webinar on Thurs 15th July”

Good food in a nice setting: Wild bees need diverse agricultural landscapes

(ScienceDaily, University of Göttingen) Mass-flowering crops such as oilseed rape or faba bean provide valuable sources of food for bees, which, in turn, contribute to the pollination of both the crops and nearby wild plants. But not every arable crop that produces flowers is visited by the same bees. A team investigated how the habitat diversity of the agricultural landscape and the cultivation of different mass-flowering crops affect wild bees.

Urban Refuge: How cities can help solve the biodiversity crisis

(Yale Environment 360) Cities have long been considered species deserts, devoid of wildlife beyond pigeons and squirrels. But with animals such as snowy owls, otters and bobcats now appearing in urban areas, scientists are recognizing that cities can play a significant role in fostering biodiversity.


Policy/Law

Caritas Suisse publishes policy brief on pollinators in Tajikistan

(Promote Pollinators) Recently Caritas Suisse, an international anti-poverty organization, published a policy brief titled “Weather-Water-Climate Services in Tajikistan”, emphasizing the relevance of pollinators and pollination for Tajikistan. The policy brief describes opportunities to support both domesticated and wild pollinators.

Protect pollinators: Reform pesticide regulations

(Nature) “Many approved pesticides still damage pollinator health at doses used in agriculture. We argue that this is due to a systemic failure in pesticide regulation that has been exacerbated by weak enforcement. Stricter laws are needed that are evidence-based, override vested interests and recognize pollinators as essential contributors to food security.”

At 75, Bureau of Land Management should increase focus on conservation

(The Pew Charitable Trusts) From the vast sagebrush sea of the West and red rock of the Colorado Plateau to the traditional homelands of tribes across more than a dozen states and vibrant deserts of the Southwest, the Bureau of Land Management stewards approximately 250 million acres of American landscapes. The agency is required to manage these spaces for a range of uses and purposes, but recently one of the BLM’s critical roles – to help conserve public lands – has taken a back seat to policies that are doing more harm than good. In fact, today less than 20% of BLM lands are managed to protect important wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and recreational opportunities. Now, as the agency marks the 75th anniversary of its founding this month the BLM has a golden opportunity to shift the balance toward safeguarding sensitive and vulnerable areas and managing other places, with a priority on outdoor public recreation.

‘Toothless’ UK policies failing to halt drastic loss of wildlife

(The Guardian) The UK is the most wildlife-depleted country out of the G7 nations and, despite pledges to improve the environment within a generation, properly funded policies are not in place to make this happen, according to a report from the environmental audit committee.


Science

Introducing Goblin bees

(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “It’s happening! The genus Macrotera now has the common name ‘Goblin Bees’ on iNaturalist!Photo and sighting.

(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman, from 2/20/20) “If the bee genus Perdita has the common name ‘Fairy bees’, then I think their sister genus, Macrotera, should have the common name ‘Goblin bees’... Supporting arguments: 1. It continues the mythical creature theme 2. They look kind of like goblins 3. One species, Macrotera portalis, has males that fight to the death in underground tunnels (male pictured above). What could be more goblinesque than that?”


Society/Culture

Sunflowers: Why some of these tall beauties are not the bee’s knees

(The Boston Globe) The year of the sunflower, as decreed by the National Garden Bureau, is upon us, and the big summer bloomers are seemingly everywhere. But for all the variation available to American gardeners, most of these plants likely share one trait: blooms that have no pollen. Pollenless sunflowers’ subterfuge may not be fooling bees – who depend on chemical cues while foraging – but given the threats facing pollinator populations, one expert suggests that “if you’re gardening, be sure you get the [sunflowers] with pollen.” How did the pollen-free sunflower, bred for big floriculture, slip practically unnoticed into the home garden?

This 8-year-old’s passion for ants is ‘inspiring’, says biologist and ant-ficionado

(CBC) Eight-year-old Benjamin Arana-Stirling loves ants – so much so, he’s made it his task to hunt for their queens, luring them into test tubes where he feeds them honey by toothpick, and watches and cares for them. But he’s not your average insect hunter; he’s an entrepreneurial ant dealer. He trades his finds to other ant collectors and aficionados – for $30 a pop. “How’d I describe them? Beautiful, wonderful creatures, and cool to watch.”

How to live in a climate ‘permanent emergency’

(New York Magazine) “Prophecies often come true as anticlimaxes, the predictions themselves having set the stage too well – serving to acculturate as well as alarm, introducing first and then effectively normalizing the possibility of events that would have seemed, not so long ago, unthinkable. Climate activists, often privately despondent themselves, have long worried about the costs of alarmism as a rhetorical strategy, warning it would end not in panicked action but fatalism and despair. What worries me more, as an avowed alarmist, is not that dire warnings inspire leaders and potential activists to give up but that, in shifting our expectations, they encourage us to count as successes any merely catastrophic outcomes that fall short of true apocalypse – and make us see what should be freakish showcases of climate horror nevertheless on a continuum with ‘normal’ rather than as signs of profound ecological disjuncture. Adaptability is a virtue, or at least a tool, in a time of cascading environmental change like the one we are stepping into now. It is also a painkiller or a form of climate dementia.”


One More Thing…

“Hey, I just met you

and this is crazy

But here’s my number

so call me, May Bee”

From Dr. Alex Wild @Myrmecos via Twitter.