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Once-Common California bumble bees have gone missing. EU proposes cutting pesticides by half by 2030. Clues to wild bee health found in their gut microbiome.
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Photo: Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society
(University of California – Riverside) Several species of California bumble bees have gone missing in the first statewide census of the fuzzy pollinators in 40 years. “Even the most dominant species has lost a lot of suitable habitat since the last large-scale survey. The winner is not doing great.”
(Webster-Kirkwood Times ) The rare bee is named Andrena cerebrata. Nina Fogel, a doctoral candidate in the Camilo Lab at Saint Louis University, caught the rare bee in June 2020 and it was identified by Mike Arduser, who is an expert on identifying native bees. According to Arduser, this bee is so rare that most people working with native bees have never seen it before. This is only the second known occurrence of this bee in the Midwest, and both occurrences have been in Webster Groves, a city south of St. Louis. “There are other uncommon bee species in Webster also – apparently native bees like it here as much as we do and they make good neighbors.”
(The Scientist) While the higher temperatures and CO2 levels associated with climate change currently fuel plant productivity, a study finds that changing conditions could take a toll on photosynthesis rates in regions outside the Arctic within a decade.
(Yale Environment 360) Urban ecologist Eric Sanderson focuses on the natural history of cities. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains why recovering and restoring streams, salt marshes and woodlands should be a vital part of how cities adapt to climate change in the 21st century.
Photo: Martin Meissner, AP Photo
(AP News) The European Union’s executive arm on Wednesday proposed setting legally binding targets to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030 and a ban on all pesticide use in areas such public parks, playgrounds and schools. The European Commission said the current rules limiting the use of pesticides were too weak and have not been applied consistently across the EU. The commission also wants to introduce a law aimed at repairing environmental damage by 2050. The proposed measure includes plans to stop the decline of pollinators by 2030 and then increase their populations.
(Greenwire) A first-of-its-kind monarch butterfly summit took wing this week in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, with the Biden administration telling participants they need to act soon, or the embattled species will require federal protections.
Photo: York University
(ScienceDaily, York University) The local environment plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of the gut microbiome of wild bees which could help detect invisible stressors and early indicators of potential threats, say scientists in a new study. Piloting a new frontier of metagenomics, the researchers sequenced whole genomes of three species of carpenter bees, a type of wild bee, in North America, Asia and Australia. This analysis allowed them to gain insights into the bee's gut microbiome (bacteria and fungi), diet and viral load, as well as their environmental DNA.
(USDA) The USDA Agricultural Research Service is leading a project dubbed “Beenome100” to produce high-quality maps of the genomes of at least 100 bee species, capturing the diversity of bees in the United States, representing each of the major bee taxonomic groups in this country.
(USDA) Winter honey bees, compared to newly emerged summer bees, have a better ability to withstand the harmful effects of imidacloprid. The study assessed differences in diet behaviors for summer and winter honey bees in a controlled laboratory setting. Researchers provided sublethal doses of the imidacloprid-laced syrup to bees as necessary. Winter bees showed a preference to consuming imidacloprid-laced syrup over untreated sugar syrup while summer honey bees made the safe choice and avoided consuming the laced syrup each time.
(The Irish News) How to make memories more robust is an area of huge scientific interest – with bees providing surprising insights. “Bees are useful models of how much intelligence you can squeeze into a small brain.”
(Twitter, Buglife @Buzz_dont_tweet) “Disrupted travel plans will likely mean more cars on the roads - why not make your journey count? Delays in distributing #Splatometers has meant participation in #BugsMatter is currently lower than 2021. Signed up? Download a Splatometer to take part now”
One More Thing…
If you’re not following the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation @OKWildlifeDept on Twitter, you are missing out on some excellent outdoors and conservation humor – and education!