Happy World Bee Day! The surprising downside of #NoMowMay. Amsterdam may start licensing or restricting bee hives. Pollinators are stars of Chelsea Flower Show in U.K.
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A Brief History of World Bee Day
The Republic of Slovenia originally proposed that the United Nations proclaim May 20 as World Bee Day. In December 2017, following three years of international efforts, the U.N. member states unanimously approved Slovenia’s proposal and May 20 was proclaimed World Bee Day. Read more about the history and why this day was chosen.
This year the U.N. will celebrate World Bee Day through a virtual event with the theme “Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems”.
Photo: Creative Commons
(Rewilding) “There’s a movement afoot to redeem the dandelion. Like the plant itself, the movement started in Britain and has been imported to North America. Under the banner of a catchy slogan, #NoMowMay urges people to let the lawn grow with freedom for one spring month, and to celebrate the spontaneous vegetation that appears, in order to ‘feed the bees’. This initiative may have value in the U.K., where it originated and where local bees have co-evolved with those plants. But North American lawns, maintained with pesticides and fertilizers, don’t support native plant and native bee populations. There’s huge value in challenging monocultural lawns and the enormous ecological damage they have caused, but offering a feel-good moment of aesthetic rebellion risks obscuring, and even undermining, the bigger goal.”
(The Conversation) The B-Lines project plans to help tackle the problem of habitat fragmentation for pollinators by connecting existing wildflower areas together. This makes it easier for bees and other pollinators to travel through cities, towns and countryside. Bees can become isolated and unable to fly if there are no plants they can get food from.
(San Francisco Chronicle) Three biologists crouched among the milkweed plants, combing through the thin green leaves as if braiding hair. They were looking for tiny white eggs or chubby, yellow-striped caterpillars: signs of the Western monarch butterfly. Their work was part of a $1.2 million state-funded project to rescue the Western monarch, which until recently seemed to have almost disappeared from California. A year ago, the conservation organization River Partners planted 30,000 milkweeds and other flowering native species in eight locations to restore habitat, mostly in Central California. The biologists’ goal at Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, a restored floodplain on a former dairy ranch in Modesto, was to see if the project is working. “It’s definitely making a difference.”
Photo: Eissink, Wikimedia Commons
(DutchNews.nl) The city is currently drawing up rules to reduce the number of beehives. This could include a licensing system or even bee hive-free zones. Scientists estimate there are six to seven honey bee colonies per square kilometer in Amsterdam, while research shows that wild bees suffer if there are four or more. More than half of the 360 wild bee types in the Netherlands are on the list of highly endangered species.
Photo: Hila Segre
(Twitter, Hila Segre @HilaSegre) “Exciting news! Bombus sylvarum spotted today in our hedgerow site. Rare in the Netherlands and not seen for many years, now observed in our study area second year in a row! Shows the importance of establishing multiple high quality interventions in farmland.”
(Twitter, Elaine Evans @fuzzybumblebee) “No photo to prove it (she was a zoomer), but believe me when I tell you that I saw a Bombus affinis QUEEN in my back yard for the second spring in a row.”
(Twitter, Hedgewizard @shafferz1) “Congrats to @MaddieOstwald in her ongoing investigations into Carpenter bee sociality! During the winter, carpenter bees maintain higher temperatures and better body condition when hibernating in groups.” Original paper
(Twitter, Toby Hammer @toby_hammer) “We wanted to know, how does the bee gut microbiome (& host transcriptome) change over the lifespan, from ‘birth’ into old age? And does (eu)sociality have anything to do with those dynamics?” Original paper
(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “It has been a very depressing journey to learn just how many bees have been killed and tossed for no scientific value. A disturbingly small % are properly processed, identified and stored”
(Twitter, Paul Williams @PaulWilliamsNHM) “BUMBLEBEES OF THE HIMALAYA is now published and will shortly be freely downloadable! The first guide to all 62 species now recognised from the west of Pakistan to the far east of India, from 40 years of research using morphology and molecules, with 337 colour-pattern diagrams”
Photo: Linda Nylind, The Guardian
(The Guardian) Bees and other pollinators will be the stars of this year’s Royal Horticultural Society flower show, with many gardens demonstrating how to attract and protect them. Scientists have also developed a planter specifically designed with flowers that appeal to bees. Its designers say that if 50,000 gardeners planted just one container each, it would provide enough flower power to fuel 1 million bumble bee miles every day, equivalent to an estimated 2 million foraging trips.
Photo: Jack Guez, AFP
(The Times of Israel) They function as normal hives, but apiaries built at a kibbutz in the Galilee are decked out with high-tech artificial intelligence systems set to ensure longevity for these vital pollinators.
One More Thing…
From the amazing bee photographer and community scientist Krystle Hickman @BeeSipOnline via Twitter: “Anthophora hololeuca in a vacant lot full of Psorothamnus bushes, which they’re specialists of. The first dead bush I saw had about 10 sleeping males. I actually only saw males. Very cute little guys. Check out the colorful mustache in [this] photo.”