Quick! Name your Top 5 favorite Bee Report stories from 2020

With this wild and unprecedented year coming to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect on the original stories covered by the Bee Report over the past 12 months. So tell me: what are your favorite Bee Report stories from 2020?

favorite (adj.) held in special regard; best liked; preferred.

The word leaves plenty of room for making your decisions. Maybe your favorite original stories are those that you found timely or important or completely brand new or those that struck a personal note with you.

So, let me know what your Top 5 selections are.

Also, let me know what bee-related topics you think the Bee Report should be paying attention to in 2021.

As a thank you, I’ll be choosing two respondents (completely at random) to each receive a bee book of their choosing from the list below. Or the winners can gift the book to someone else! (Chances are I’ll need to limit shipping to North America only. But if a respondent from Australia, Europe or other locales happens to be chosen, let’s see what we can work out for you.)

Please get your responses to me by Dec. 31, 2020. I’ll share the results in the first newsletter of 2021.

Many thanks and much gratitude to each and every one of you for being such great supporters of the Bee Report! I am absolutely looking forward to helping you stay connected to the world of bees in 2021.

Have a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

~ Matt

BOOK LIST

The Bees in You Backyard, Joe Wilson and Olivia Carril

Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide, Paul Williams, Robbin Thorp, Leif Richardson and Shiela Colla

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees, Thor Hanson

Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them, Paige Embry

Give Bees A Chance, Bethany Barton (children’s picture book)

The A Bee C Book, Peter Helfrich (children’s picture book that supports Beecatur an affiliate of Bee City USA)


A short vacation

Just a quick note to let you all know that the Bee Report and I will be taking a short vacation during the last two weeks of this month. This is the last Bee Report for 2020. We’ll return to your inboxes at the beginning of January 2021!


Conservation

Tennessee college student’s nonprofit wins $10,000 to save the mason bees

(WVLT) Maryville College announced that a freshman received a grant for her organization, Build for Bees, which aims to restore the mason bee population “through education and workshops that teach others how to build their own mason bee houses using recycled materials.”

Plant diversity in Germany on the decline

(EurekAlert, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig) In an area covering the whole of Germany, in every grid field of approximately 5 by 5 kilometres - the decline in species diversity averages around two percent per decade. Especially vulnerable are the archaeophytes; species brought to Germany by humans but before the discovery of America. Among others, these include a large proportion of accompanying field flora, such as the corn marigold and the large Venus's looking glass, but also species such as the narrow-leaved rattle and the perennial goosefoot. On the other hand, many neophytes – those species that reached Germany after 1492, were also able to spread, such as the Himalayan balsam or the narrow-leaved ragwort. The results of this study make it clear that even this increase could not compensate for the loss in the number of species per unit of area.

Can extinction be meaningfully measured?

(Twitter, Michael Orr @mc_orr) “Effective conservation management needs targets but extinction targets cannot be realistically measured or achieved for most species. We must focus on habitat preservation to protect all species, not just elephants, primates, and big cats.” The original paper.


Economics

Insect pollination and soil organic matter improve raspberry production

(Twitter, Thijs Fijen @ThijsFijen) “Insect pollination and soil organic matter increase fruit size and fruit yield independently from fertiliser! These ecosystem services can replace 30-85 kg nitrogen fertiliser per hectare!” The original paper.


Policy/Law

Lawsuit launched to protect habitat for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

(Center for Biological Diversity) NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas today issued a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for refusing to designate critical habitat for the highly endangered rusty patched bumblebee. “The Service’s excuses for failing to protect the bee’s home have no basis in either the agency’s own science or the law."

Trump administration finalizes rule limiting habitat protections for endangered species

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Trump administration finalized a rule this week that severely limits the government’s ability to protect habitat that imperiled animals and plants like grizzly bears and whooping cranes will need to survive and recover.

Congress passed a bipartisan conservation law. Then the Trump administration got in its way

(Inside Climate News) Republicans and Democrats together approved the Great American Outdoors Act. But the administration sabotaged the program with a skimpy project list and last-minute rules that, in effect, restrict conservation spending.


Science

New research debunks assumptions about why hoverflies and bees use different pollination techniques

(University of Sterling) An existing hypothesis of why hoverflies do not buzz pollinate was that they are incapable of producing vibrations of the required magnitude or amplitude to dislodge the pollen. However, the new findings showed that bees and hoverflies produce vibrations of similar amplitude. “Our study suggests that the lack of buzz-pollinating flies may be best explained by their life history, and the fact their predatory larvae depend much less on pollen in their diet, than bee larvae.”

Clothianidin reduces honey bee immune response, contributes to mite proliferation

(Twitter, POSHBEE Project @poshbee_eu) “New research article... presents evidence that exposure of honey bees to Chlothianidin makes them more vulnerable against the Varroa destructor parasitic mite!” The original paper.


Society/Culture

Animals with ‘charisma’ get lion’s share of EU conservation funds

(The Guardian) Money made available for wildlife conservation by the EU is based on a popularity contest, with vertebrates getting nearly 500 times more funding for each species than invertebrates, according to a new report.

In pandemic, people are turning to nature – especially women

(EurekAlert, University of Vermont) People in the study – who ranged from stuck at home to stressed in essential worker jobs – reported significant increases in outdoor activity during COVID-19, especially among women. People also experienced a shift in why they value nature.

These 6 graphs show that Black scientists are underrepresented at every level

(ScienceNews) Nationwide protests in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other unarmed Black men and women in the first part of 2020 inspired calls to action within academia’s ivory tower. Social media movements such as #BlackInSTEM brought attention to discrimination faced by Black students and professionals throughout the science, technology, engineering and mathematics pipelines. U.S. Black residents studying and working in STEM fields are underrepresented at every level, from undergraduate degree programs to the workforce.

Plus: Here are conversations with five Black researchers fighting for diversity and equity in science.


One More Thing…

“The Maid of Kent (Emus hirtus). A hairy bumble-bee mimicking beetle. Very few people have seen this species in the wild, but it probably still occurs at a few places in North Kent.” From the Oxford University Museum of Natural History @morethanadodo via Twitter.