UK reservoirs create network of habitat. Angry bees produce more lucrative venom. Bumble bees navigate using human pathways. Bumble bee flight suffers under heat extremes. A teenager and her bee.
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(BBC) The Bee Together project aims to create a network of pollinator habitats stretching from Yorkshire to Lancashire. Yorkshire Water has provided £30,000 to create habitats at six of its reservoirs in the Yorkshire Dales.
(Phys.org, University College London) A new study find that pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, hoverflies and wasps interact more with plants at well-managed farmland ponds than those that are severely overgrown by trees.
(NPR) Entomologists confirmed the report of Vespa mandarinia by a person in a rural area east of the town of Blaine, south of Vancouver, British Columbia, near the Canadian border. “This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests.” In June, a “slightly dried out, dead specimen” of the hornet was discovered on someone's lawn in the town of Marysville, Wash., north of Seattle and about 60 miles south of Blaine.
(Curtin University) Researchers have revealed how behavioral and ecological factors influence the quality of bee venom, a product widely known for its effective treatment of degenerative and infectious diseases such as Parkinson’s and osteoarthritis. They say this research would be of substantial benefit to both human health and the lucrative beekeeping business, where bee venom is being sold for up to $300 per gram.
(Los Angeles Times) Turkey’s wildfires have left little behind, turning green forests into ashen, barren hills. The destruction is being intensely felt by Turkey’s beekeepers, who have lost thousands of hives as well as the pine trees and the insects their bees depend on.
(ABC News) Apiarists are worried the demand for hives to pollinate almond orchards is becoming too great. Almond bloom happens in winter when bees typically like to hibernate and conserve energy. The almond industry says the demand will increase with new plantings and hopes beekeepers can grow to meet it.
(New York Times) The agency will reverse a Trump-era decision to keep chlorpyrifos, one of the most common pesticides in use. In an unusual move, the new chlorpyrifos policy will not be put in place via the standard regulatory process, under which the E.P.A. first publishes a draft rule, then takes public comment before publishing a final rule. Rather, in compliance with the court order, which noted that the science linking chlorpyrifos to brain damage is over a decade old, the rule will be published in final form, without a draft or public comment period.
(The Fence Post) Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who also serves on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced bipartisan legislation to improve livestock disaster assistance.
(Daily Mail) Researchers transplanted bee hives to a landscape – a rice farm – where the only features were a grid of raised paths. Radar tracking of the insects showed that the bees initially relied on the paths to help them find their way around – at least until they became more confident. “We think that these paths and roads are essentially being used as visual crutches by the bees. They make life easier, which means that they’ll follow them if they’re not sure. But they can ignore them – they don’t have to follow them.” According to the team, better understanding how bumblebees navigate could aid in efforts to conserve the important insects, whose population numbers are in decline.
(ScienceDaily, Imperial College London) Bees’ flight performance affects their ability to pollinate plants. Now, researchers have measured the relationship between bumble bee flight performance and surrounding temperature. Their results indicate that whilst bumble bees found in more northern latitudes may see benefits to flight performance under future climate warming, populations in southern latitudes, where temperatures above 27°C are more readily exceeded, may be adversely affected.
(Twitter, Jess Vickruck @jessvickruck) “There has been a considerable research investigating the impacts of habitat loss on wild bee communities in grasslands, however there has been considerably less work in areas that are predominantly forested. We wanted to know how bumble bee (bb) communities changed depending on habitat type. Using blue vane traps, we sampled bb (the most abundant genus in our collections) from 4 different habitat types across New Brunswick, CA, a province with ~80% forest.”
(York University) BeeCon 2021 is scheduled for Friday, October 15, 2021 and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Shalene Jha, Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas, Austin.
(CoventryLive) Lacey Shillinglaw found a bumble bee in the road. She tried to put it on a wall and numerous flowers to save it, but every time she did the bee would fly back to her. A week later, the teenager and bee are still together. She takes the bee outside all the time to fly among the flowers but the bumble bee always follows her back into the house when she returns. The bee even sleeps next to Lacey at night in a small lidless tub with dirt, grass, flowers and water in it and won’t fly out unless her human friend leaves the room.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) James Karslake, spent last year pulling invasive plants, installing bee gardens, removing trash, counting bees and bats, and even mobilizing a small army of volunteers. This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded him a 2021 President’s Environmental Youth Award, one of 16 awarded nationally. The award recognizes youths who demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship and education. Karslake worked on four separate plans in the St. Louis region for his project, titled “Rebuilding Native Habitats in the Community.”
(British Ecological Society, University of Exeter) BEE-STEWARD is a decision-support tool which provides a computer simulation of bumblebee colony survival in a given landscape. The tool lets researchers, farmers, policymakers and other interested parties test different land management techniques to find out which ones and where could be most beneficial for bees. BEE-STEWARD is freely available online.
One More Thing…
Data sonification is the presentation of data as sound. It’s the auditory equivalent of data visualization. Loud Numbers is a podcast that sonifies all sorts of data.
The End of the Road episode is a requiem for lost biodiversity, driven by a sonification of data on insect population decline, sourced from the scientific work of Anders Pape Møller. For two decades, Møller drove rental cars along two stretches of road in Denmark almost daily every summer. During those trips he would systematically count the insects killed on his windscreen. As a result, he found an 80-97% reduction in their numbers between 1997 and 2017.