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Are lime trees killing our bees ?
Are lime trees killing our bees ? Is the nectar of lime-tree flowers toxic for bees? Plenty of people seem to think so. In his super book, A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson says: “Buff-tailed and white tailed bumblebees love the flowers of lime trees, although there is something in the nectar which seems to make them dopey and even sometimes kill them”.
The belief that lime trees can harm bees has been around since at least the 16th century, so a couple of Kew botanists decided that it was time to review the evidence. Their conclusions were published in the Journal Biology Letters.


Pollinator Strategy for Scotland 2017–2027
Pollinator Strategy for Scotland 2017–2027 The Pollinator Strategy for Scotland 2017-2027 sets out how Scotland can continue to be a place where pollinators thrive, along with actions that are needed to help achieve that objective.


America's beekeepers report 40 percent winter bee loss
America's beekeepers report 40 percent winter bee loss America's beekeepers lost 40 percent of their managed honey bee colonies in the past year, Auburn University researchers say, and that's a loss rate 7 percent above the previous year.
Greater colony mortality during the 2017-18 winter pushed the overall loss rate higher, researchers said. Survey respondents reported a loss rate of almost 31 percent, which is almost 3 percent above the 10-year average and a big jump from 2016-17's 21 percent death rate.


Raiding the rape field
Raiding the rape field Oilseed rape fields are home to a variety of insects that bother farmers. The pollen beetle is one of them. The beetle's larvae feed on the flower buds of oilseed rape causing damage and crop failure. The larvae of different species of weevils also have a preference for rape: They tunnel into the plants' stems making them wither and die.
Conventional farming practice generally relies on chemical pesticides to exterminate the hungry insects. But obviously their populations can also be kept at bay by promoting their natural enemies. These include ground beetles, spiders and other predatory insects that live on the ground.
Study can be found in : Journal of Applied Ecology


'Virtual safe space' to help bumblebees
'Virtual safe space' to help bumblebees The many threats facing bumblebees can be tested using a "virtual safe space" created by scientists at the University of Exeter. Bumble-BEEHAVE provides a computer simulation of how colonies will develop and react to multiple factors including pesticides, parasites and habitat loss.
The tool lets researchers, farmers, policymakers and other interested parties test different land management techniques to find out what will be most beneficial for bees. Field experiments can be very timely and costly, so resultsfrom Bumble-BEEHAVE can help refine and reduce the number of experiments needed.


Ontario Beekeepers Experience Overwhelming Losses
Ontario Beekeepers Experience Overwhelming Losses When Ontario’s beekeepers opened their hives this spring, they found nothing but bad news for beekeepers, as well as for the vegetable and fruit growers who depend on bees for pollination. The recent Ontario Beekeepers’ Association survey of almost 900 beekeepers indicated that 7 out of 10 Ontario beekeepers suffered unsustainable losses. Most worrisome, almost one in three (32%) beekeepers reported colony losses of 70% or more.


Court confirms neonicotinoid ban was legal
Court confirms neonicotinoid ban was legal Today the EU Court of Justice confirmed that the 2013 European Commission decision to protect bees by introducing a ban on the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides on flowering crops, was proper and legal. Bayer and Syngenta had challenged the decisions, throwing everything at the cases and claiming that: the EC exceeded its remit; the economic cost to the pesticide industry should have been a key factor in the decision; the bee pesticide risk assessment document should not have been used (because all member states had not endorsed it); the science showed neonicotinoids were safe to bees; and that there were several other grounds.


American Foulbrood Elimination – a Video Series by Plant and Food
American Foulbrood Elimination – a Video Series by Plant and Food We discovered this series of videos put out by Plant and Food in New Zealand.
Even though it came out in 2015, it’s the first time we have seen it, and thought it was worth telling you about. I can see these being useful for overseas beekeepers as well, as AFB is a worldwide issue for Bees and Beekeepers.
Its a great series of videos about Amercian Foul Brood (AFB) presented by Dr. Mark Goodwin and Byron Taylor, its history in New Zealand and what you can do if your hives become infected.


Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome 'at safe levels', study claims
Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome 'at safe levels' A chemical found in the world’s most widely used weedkiller can have disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe, according to a wide-ranging pilot study in rats.
Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and levels found in the human bloodstream have spiked by more than a 1,000% in the last two decades.


A Plea for Use of Honey Bees’ Natural Resilience in Beekeeping
A Plea for Use of Honey Bees’ Natural Resilience in Beekeeping This plea is about leaving room for nature in ordinary daily beekeeping, but also about leaving room for nature in the reproduction of the bee colonies, i.e. beekeeping without queen breeding and without cultivation of breeds. Our European honey bees (Apis mellifera) naturally possess numerous traits including behaviours that make them less vulnerable to diseases and other threats in their environment.
This means that it may occasionally be better to follow the bees’ nature rather than to force the bees to meet our requirements.


New Cover Lets in Only Red Light, and Keeps Small Hive Beetles Out
New Cover Lets in Only Red Light, and Keeps Small Hive Beetles Out At their worst, honey bees are known for delivering painful stings, ripping apart their own tiny bodies in the process, just to protect their own hive. At their best, however, honey bees are much more impressive — not to mention, way less gruesome.
“For about 22 years, we’ve had a problem with small hive beetles,”
A transparent, red piece of acrylic shaped like a lid. It fits over a honey bee box hive. As sunlight shines through the acrylic, it creates red light inside the hive that disturbs small hive beetles and deters them away. He calls the product the Beetle Banisher.


Conservationists put out feelers to save Scotland's bees
Conservationists put out feelers to save Scotland's bees For centuries, they have clashed with and repelled repeated foreign invaders from Vikings to the mighty Roman Empire.
Now Scotland’s native honeybee is the latest species to come under threat from a foreign invasion as the country’s growing number of beekeepers bring non-native bees to fill their hives.
Experts say a gradual “diluting” of the DNA of the native bee fear it could become as rare as pure native wildcats through breeding with non-native species.


A new honey bee infection transmitted by Varroa mites ?
Jim Burritt, University of Wisconsin-Stout. The research, with student co-authors Anna Winfield, of Bloomer, and Jake Hildebrand, of Menomonie, was published Dec. 21 in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication for science and medicine research. The study, “Sepsis and Hemocyte Loss in Honey Bees,” can be found online.


Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS)
PMS or Parasitic Mite Syndrome is a condition that causes a honey bee colony to deteriorate and eventually dwindle away and die. There has not yet been a pathogen detected which causes the brood symptoms that appear with this syndrome. However there are always varroa mites present with this syndrome. The brood symptoms look similar to other diseases but the larvae don’t rope. Colonies with PMS will show symptoms of white larvae that are chewed or pecked down by workers. Larvae may appear sunken to the side of the cell and may show symptoms of white with some debris at the posterior end. Pupa will be chewed down/removed or the pupa face chewed part of the way down as seen in the photo. Most of the symptoms shown are from hygienic bees trying to remove varroa mite infested cells and or larvae/pupa from cells. There is sometimes color to the larvae and this is attributed to age, decomposition or secondary bacteria.


What gives bees their sweet tooth ?
What gives bees their sweet tooth ? Scientists have discovered bees linger on a flower, emptying it of nectar, because they have sugar-sensing taste neurons which work together to prolong the pleasure of the sweetness.
Newcastle University researchers report that the bees' taste neurons found on their proboscis -- their mouthparts -- fire intense signals for up to 10 seconds -- much longer than the taste neurons found in other insects.


World Bee Day May 20th! Celebrate !
World Bee Day May 20th! Celebrate ! World Bee Day? Yes, it’s official.
On the 20th December 2017 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 20th May World Bee Day. Every year on this day the global public will have their attention focussed on the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators, and people will be reminded of the significance of bees in providing for the needs of humanity. They will also be invited to take positive action to preserve and protect pollinators.
By: Ann Chilcott


Say 'No' to the mow
Say 'No' to the mow One of the best - and easiest - ways to encourage wildlife in your garden is to create a "mini meadow" on your lawn. That's why Plantlife is calling for all lawn-owners to join the "Say No to the Mow" Summer Challenge.


‘Sting’ operation to find Nairn beehive bandit
‘Sting’ operation to find Nairn beehive bandit Two double beehives were placed at Easter Delnies over the weekend to assist with the yield from neighbouring fields.
However, by around 9pm on Saturday, it was found one of the hives had been extensively damaged causing a buzz amongst local farmland owners.
The hives were in use and as a result of the damage the beekeeper and land owner have suffered significant financial loss.


Bee disease confirmed near Perth and Dumfries
Bee disease confirmed near Perth and Dumfries AN OUTBREAK of European Foulbrood (EFB), a disease affecting honey bees, has been found in two colonies of honey bees in two apiaries near Perth and Dumfries.
The disease was confirmed following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture.


Europe Just Banned the Chemicals That Lay Waste to Honeybees. But they’re still everywhere in the US
Europe Just Banned the Chemicals That Lay Waste to Honeybees. But They’re Still Everywhere in the US In late April, the European Union banned a blockbuster trio of neonicotinoid insecticides, marketed by chemical giants Syngenta and Bayer. The decision, motivated by mounting evidence of harm to bees exposed to the chemicals, entrenches a temporary moratorium the EU placed on them back in 2013.
In the United States, use of neonicotinoids continues unabated. They’re widely applied to corn, soybean, and cotton seeds before planting. The chemicals suffuse the resulting plants, including their pollen and nectar, poisoning crop-chomping insects.


The Great Bug Hunt 2018
The Great Bug Hunt 2018

A Great Competition for Primary Schools

An opportunity for pupils to get outside to learn more about living things and their habitats and to use the outdoor classroom.
Simply identify a local habitat, get the pupils to explore and discover the minibeasts (bugs) that live there, draw them and record their findings – it’s that easy !


Neonicotinoid ban: how meta-analysis helped show pesticides do harm bees
Neonicotinoid ban: how meta-analysis helped show pesticides do harm bees The EU has announced a near-total ban on three insecticides that we now know are harmful to bees and other pollinators. And yet for years, scientists weren’t sure whether these neonicotinoid insecticides had any significant effect on bees, thanks to numerous studies that appeared to contradict each other.
Luckily, scientists have a tool that can not only help sort through large amounts of confusing data but also reveal conclusions that were statistically invisible when the information was first collected. This practice of “meta-analysis” is what helped researchers see there was a problem with neonicotinoids, paving the way for the risk assessment that ultimately led to the ban. In fact, meta-analysis is now so widespread that it affects our lives on a daily basis


The Great British Wildflower Hunt – To Pick, or Not To Pick. That is the Question.
The Great British Wildflower Hunt – To Pick, or Not To Pick. That is the Question. The British wild flower conservation group has a new policy that is leaving beekeepers more than a little riled.
Plantlife launched its annual Great British Wildflower Hunt with a new code of conduct that says it’s okay to pick some of them.
The hunt, in its second year, sees participants finding wild flower varieties and checking them off a list.


EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.
The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.


Neonicotinoids may alter estrogen production in humans
Neonicotinoids may alter estrogen production in humans Neonicotinoids are currently the most widely used pesticides in the world and frequently make headlines because of their harmful effects on honeybees and other insect pollinators. Now, a study published in the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives, indicates they may also have an impact on human health by disrupting our hormonal systems. This study by INRS professor Thomas Sanderson indicates that more work must be done on the potential endocrine-disrupting effects of neonicotinoids.


Chemical Madness !
Chemical Madness ! All of humanity currently risks exposure to toxic chemicals all over creation in a similar vein to the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland fame. And, maybe, as a result, goin’ kinda looney and getting horribly, dreadfully sick !
As soon as the Spring of 2018, the EPA will decide whether to risk the slaughter of birds and bees and pollinators that serve critical functions in crop production, as well as goosing-up the likelihood of chronic illnesses of citizens. The issue behind this flirtation with disease, sickness, pain, and death is regulation, or lack thereof, of chemical pesticides.


12 Must See Ted Talks for Beekeepers

TED is a media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. TED was founded in February 1984 as a conference, which has been held annually since 1990.
We sat down on rainy afternoon in the Waitakere ranges, and watched loads of Ted Talks about bees here are our top twelve.
We have added all of these to a Youtube Playlist on our channel. You will find the playlist HERE


Honeybees make a cute 'whoop' when they're surprised
Honeybees make a cute 'whoop' when they're surprised And I thought the squeaks of a baby sloth were cute ? Well, they are ... but they've got some tough competition from a very surprising source: Whooping honeybees.
So it isn't new news that honeybees make a vibrational pulse to communicate. Sam Wong writes in New Scientist that while scientists have known about this signaling since the 1950s, they first speculated that it indicated a request for food. "Later, it was shown that the signal was produced when one bee tried to inhibit another from performing a waggle dance," Wong writes, "a behaviour that tells other bees where to forage." It was later interpreted as a warning signal.


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