What's the best way to measure pollinator attractiveness in cultivated flowers? Native Hawaiian bees get federal protection money. Glyphosate weedkiller damages wild bee colonies.
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Photo: Susan Walker, Getty Images
(The Guardian) The critical ability of wild bumble bees to keep their colonies at the right temperature is seriously damaged by the weedkiller glyphosate, research has revealed. The damage seen in the study occurred when the colonies were running short of food. This is common in farming regions, where wildflowers can be killed directly by glyphosate. The research is the first on wild bees, of which there are 20,000 species, though glyphosate had already been shown to harm honey bees by damaging larvae and the senses of adults.
(National Biodiversity Data Centre, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan) “Seeing exotic wildflowers in our wider environment is as shocking to me as seeing a herd of elephants on the N7. We need to address the real elephant in the room which is the continued sale and use of inappropriate wildflower seed mixes.”
Photo: Emily Erickson
(Entomology Today) As gardeners become more interested in seeking out pollinator-friendly plants, the horticulture industry has a growing need to reliably measure and label plants for their ability to attract bees, butterflies, flies and other pollinators. “There’s this disconnect between what’s labeled ‘good for pollinators’ and what’s actually good for pollinators. There’s no real standard protocol to assessing what pollinator attractiveness means for nursery plants.” But a team of researchers have found that, for many plants, 10 minutes is a sufficient observation time to determine attractiveness to pollinators. Further, they found that these observations could be done successfully by even novice observers with just a little bit of training.
(Entomology Today) Small hive beetles can cause millions of dollars in damage annually to honey bee hives. Native to sub-Saharan Africa and first observed in Florida in 1998, this invasive species feeds on honey bee eggs and larvae as well as the honeycomb and pollen. Larval frass results in increased growth of a fungus that causes fermentation and creates a slimy substance in the hive. A single female beetle can lay up to 2,000 eggs, so populations can increase very rapidly.
Photo: Sheldon Plentovich
(Maui Now) The federal funding comes through the Competitive State Wildlife Grant Program, designed to conserve species in approved State Wildlife Action Plans. The programs protect imperiled species and their habitat from further harm, and in some cases prevent them from going on the endangered species list. The funding for Hawai'i includes $249,477 to conserve the habitat and resources of yellow-faced bees on the island of Maui.
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) In the first Endangered Species Act interpretive rule produced under the Biden-Harris administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to revise section 10(j) regulations under the ESA to better facilitate recovery by allowing for the introduction of listed species to suitable habitats outside of their historical ranges. The proposed change will help improve the conservation and recovery of imperiled ESA-listed species in the coming decades, as growing impacts from climate change and invasive species cause habitats within their historical ranges to shift and become unsuitable.
(JD Supra) A California appellate court recently concluded that the bumble bee is a “fish”, at least for the purposes of certain provisions in the California Endangered Species Act. Because bumble bees are “fish”, they can be subject to the California ESA. While this conclusion would be disputed by primary school age children everywhere, this decision illustrates how courts can sometimes reach supportable, but wholly counterintuitive, results.
(Daily Camera) SB22-199 will require a study by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources regarding the protection of native pollinating insects in the state, regarding challenges associated with native pollinating insect populations, their associated ecosystems and their health and resilience in the state. Based on the results of the study, the director of the department will be required to make recommendations for the protection of native pollination insects and how to develop education and outreach programming.
Photo: The Winfree Lab
(Twitter, Dylan Simpson @dylantux) “Angst! Drama! Wild bee visits to watermelon declines 58% over 8 years. But, maybe just a result of typical year to year variation? Hard to tell. Join us as we grapple with pulling signal from noise.” Original paper
(Twitter, John M. Mola @_JohnMola) “We looked at over 1,400 publications on wild bees to provide perspective on best practices for collection, reporting, and data mgmt.” Original paper
(Twitter, Laura Russo @lrusso08) “These days we are moving so many species around at once that rather than model individual invasive species, we modeled the invasion of an entire community at once!” Original paper
(ScienceDaily, Technical University of Munich) Sparse data often make it difficult to track how climate change is affecting populations of insect species. A new study has now evaluated an extensive species mapping database and assessed the population trends of butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers in Bavaria since 1980. The main finding: heat-loving species have been increasing.
(Twitter, Dr Manu Saunders @ManuSaunders) “Impressive long-term dataset, every summer for 53 years...such comprehensive annual monitoring is rare for arthropods mostly because of lack of funding” Original paper
(Twitter, Paul Williams @PaulWilliamsNHM) “… keys and 337 colour-pattern diagrams, designed for precision IDs in the lab, this is not a field guide (a lockdown project so no opportunities for pics of live bees or characters)” Original paper
Photo: Levon Biss
(Twitter, Levon Biss @LevonBissPhoto) “Happy to share with you the first image from a new exhibition, Extinct & Endangered. Meet the beautiful Patagonian bumblebee. All 40 images will be released on 22nd June and on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.”
(Hindustan Times) A new documentary film by the Bengaluru-based filmmaker about bees that visit the city every winter, views them not as pests but fellow citizens. It’s a vital new voice in understanding their role in the ecosystem
One More Thing…
A personal goal achieved. Unlock next level. Congrats, beespeaker @zucchinibeemama! Via Twitter: “I did it! Over 10,000 bees IDed on iNat. Phew! So grateful to all those citizen scientists out there and the professionals that have mentored me and helped with the tricky bees over the years. Still lots to learn. Onwards and upwards!”