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If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk.
If you want to be happy for a week, kill the fattened pig.
If you want to be happy for a month, get married.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime, keep bees.

 

Riddle of how 1,700 tons of mauka honey are made... but 10,000 are sold
Riddle of how 1,700 tons of mauka honey are made... but 10,000 are sold More jars of expensive manuka honey are being sold in Britain and around the world than are being produced.
The prized honey originates from New Zealand, yet demand is so high that supply cannot keep up.
The net result is that some producers appear to be substituting cheap standard honey.

 

Nearly two decades of data reinforce concerns that pesticides are really bad for bees
Nearly two decades of data reinforce concerns that pesticides are really bad for bees New research has provided some of the strongest evidence yet that pesticides can do serious, long-term damage to bee populations. And the findings may help fuel the ongoing debate about whether certain insecticides should be permitted for agricultural use at all.
The new study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, examines the question of whether the use of a common (and highly controversial) class of pesticides called neonicotinoids can be linked to wild bee declines in England. The results suggest that this could be the case.
Using 18 years of data collected on more than 60 bee species in England, the researchers found that species foraging on pesticide-treated crops have experienced much more severe losses than species foraging on other plants.
The study provides some of the first evidence that the effects of neonicotinoid exposure can scale up to cause major damage to bees.

 

Controversial pesticides threaten not just bees, but butterflies, too
Controversial pesticides threaten not just bees, but butterflies, too Most of the furor surrounding neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely-used pesticides, focuses on the harms they cause to bees. Yet these chemicals may also pose a threat—presently little-appreciated but possibly grave—to butterflies.
In a study published in the journal Biology Letters, researchers led by biologist Matthew Forister of the University of Nevada tracked butterfly populations across four decades in three Northern California counties. Butterflies there face many challenges, including climate change, drought, and habitat loss to agriculture and urban sprawl. Yet even with those factors accounted for, neonicotinoids seem to pose a unique threat: the researchers found that declines in butterfly health and reproductive success accelerated dramatically after the pesticides entered widespread use in the mid-1990s.

 

Gardeners Beware 2016
Gardeners Beware 2016 In order to determine the state of marketplace progress in eliminating bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides from bee-attractive plants, we undertook the current study, Gardeners Beware 2016: Bee-toxic pesticides found in ‘Bee-Friendly’ Plants Sold at Garden Centers Across the U.S. We worked with 13 organizations in 12 states across the U.S. to sample and analyze 60 plants. Thirteen of these plants were beeattractive tree or shrub species often used as ornamental street trees in cities and towns. The results of our new report shows that fewer bee-attractive ornamental plants sold at major retailers have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees.

 

Neonicotinoid insecticides linked to wild bee decline across England
Neonicotinoid insecticides linked to wild bee decline across England Exposure to neonicotinoid seed treated oilseed rape crops has been linked to long-term population decline of wild bee species across the English countryside, according to research published today in Nature Communications.
The scientists found evidence suggesting that neonicotinoid use is linked to large-scale and long-term decline in wild bee species distributions and communities.
The decline was, on average, three times stronger among species that regularly feed on the crop such as Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) compared to species that forage on a range of floral resources, indicating that oilseed rape is a principle mechanism of neonicotinoid exposure among wild bee communities.

 

Approaches and Challenges to Managing Nosema Parasites in Honey Bee Colonies
Approaches and Challenges to Managing Nosema Parasites in Honey Bee Colonies The microsporidia Nosema apis (Zander) and Nosema ceranae (Fries) are common intestinal parasites in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies. Though globally prevalent, there are mixed reports of Nosema infection costs, with some regions reporting high parasite virulence and colony losses, while others report high Nosema prevalence but few costs. Basic and applied studies are urgently needed to help beekeepers effectively manage Nosema spp., ideally through an integrated pest management approach that allows beekeepers to deploy multiple strategies to control Nosema when Nosema is likely to cause damage to the colonies, rather than using prophylactic treatments.
Read the rest of this journal article here.

 

Surveys of Corn and Soybean Fields Reveal Implications for Pollinator Conservation
Surveys of Corn and Soybean Fields Reveal Implications for Pollinator Conservation Although corn and soybeans do not need insects for pollination, they do offer floral resources that are used by insect pollinators. So what kind of insects are commonly found in corn and soybean fields? The answer to that question can be found in a new article published in Environmental Entomology.
Researchers from Iowa State University used modified pan traps to compare the insect communities found in the two crops. All in all, they captured 6,704 individual insects representing at least 60 species. Thirty-four species were collected in both crops, 19 were collected only in corn, and seven were collected only in soybean.

 

Action needed to 'future-proof' pollinators
Action needed to 'future-proof' pollinators International scientists are calling for action to "future-proof" the prosperity of pollinating insects, birds and mammals.
They say agricultural expansion, new pesticides and emerging viruses present the biggest risks in coming decades.
Some 35% of global crop production and more than 85% of wild flowering plants rely to some degree on pollination.

 

Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them
Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them Pesticides beekeepers are using to improve honeybee health may actually be harming the bees by damaging the bacteria communities in their guts, according to a team led by a Virginia Tech scientist.
The discovery, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology,is a concern because alterations can affect the gut’s ability to metabolize sugars and peptides, processes that are vital for honeybee health. Beekeepers typically apply pesticides to hives to rid them of harmful parasites such as Varroa mites.

 

First Hexagonal Coin Features A Honey Bee, and has Resin Inclusion
First Hexagonal Coin Features A Honey Bee, and has Resin Inclusion The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has unveiled (Aug 01) a new coin paying homage to the humble honey bee, or Apis mellifera. The honey bee is an integral part of our lives, providing honey while pollinating flowers and plants that provide the human race with needed sustenance. The life and hierarchy of the honey bee is complicated, with an organized society of three adult castes comprising of the queen, workers, and drones, each with a specific purpose and function.

 

Slovenia’s abuzz with bee tourism
Slovenia’s abuzz with bee tourism In honey-mad Slovenia a new tour takes visitors around bee hives and api-wellness centres – with stops for deliciously sticky bread and cakes.
I’m lying face down in a shed as a woman pours honey on me. A skylight throws fading rays on to the massage table. I close my eyes and try to relax as the masseuse starts to pat me with sticky hands. The room smells like a sauna, with overtones of sweetness, and gently vibrates with the sound of tens of thousands of bees, at work on the other side of the wall.

 

A self-monitoring hive that takes the hard work out of beekeeping could help reinvigorate the country’s declining honey bee population.
Mella - an urban beehive designed especially for novices - is the brainchild of Loughborough University Industrial Design and Technology student Ellie MacLeod.

 

Let’s build our model !
Let’s build our model ! We have reached an important landmark in our work on bee health at EFSA. Today we publish detailed information about the predictive model that will be required by EFSA to enable it to assess the impact of pesticides on honeybee colony health, in the context of multiple stressors relating to:
• the environment (landscape and weather) in which the colony is located;
• biological agents that might be adversely affecting the hive including Varroa mites and Nosema infection; and
• certain beekeeping practices.

 

Honey bee colonies fall by nearly 12% globally
Honey bee colonies fall by nearly 12% globally The number of honey bee colonies fell by nearly 12% last winter, an international study indicates. The study found that the spring and early summer months of 2015, from March to July, were cold in Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland, with mean temperatures ranging from 12.8 - 14.4 °C. This may have had negative effects on colony development, resulting in both relatively high numbers of dead colonies and unsolvable queen problems after winter.

 

Asian giant honeybees may move in synchrony to ventilate nests
Asian giant honeybees may move in synchrony to ventilate nests The Asian giant honeybee, Apis dorsata, builds its large single-comb nests out in the open, making them potentially vulnerable to extremes of temperature that may threaten survival. New research shows that these giant honeybees may use synchronized movements to ventilate and cool their nests.

 

Researchers identify how queen bees repress workers' fertility
Researchers identify how queen bees repress workers' fertility Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago have discovered the molecular mechanism by which queen honeybees carefully control worker bees' fertility.
It has long been known that worker bees have a very limited ability to reproduce in a hive with a queen and brood present, but in their absence, a third of them will activate their ovaries and lay eggs that hatch into fertile male drones.

 

Bumblebees coax pollen from flowers with a secret 'knock'
When it comes to unlocking the pollen from certain types of flowers, only a secret buzz will work — a buzz that bumblebees know how to perform. Not even honeybees, the most famous of pollinators, know how to crack the code.
Called buzz pollination, the strategy is utilized by some 20,000 flowering plant species including many agricultural crops we know and love like tomatoes, blueberries, potatoes and cranberries to name just a few. The plants make the bees work extra hard for a payoff of pollen.

 

Leading insecticide cuts bee sperm by almost 40%
Leading insecticide cuts bee sperm by almost 40%, study shows The world’s most widely used insecticide is an inadvertent contraceptive for bees, cutting live sperm in males by almost 40%, according to research. The study also showed the neonicotinoid pesticides cut the lifespan of the drones by a third.
The scientists say the discovery provides one possible explanation for the increasing deaths of honeybees in recent years, as well as for the general decline of wild insect pollinators throughout the northern hemisphere.

 

Researchers discover how honey bees 'telescope' their abdomens
Researchers discover how honey bees 'telescope' their abdomens Honey bees are able to wiggle their abdomens in a variety of ways. Now new research published in the Journal of Insect Science shows how they are able to do it.
In 2015, a team of researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing used a high-speed camera to observe how honey bees curl their abdomens while in flight and under restraint, confirming that bees can manipulate the shape of their abdomens, but only in one direction -- down, toward the bee's underside.

 

Assessment of the effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on biodiversity and health (SHC 9241) (June 2016)
Advisory report 9241 - Neonicotinoids In this scientific advisory report on public health policy, the Superior Health Council of Belgium provides a review of the WIA-study on the impact of neonicotinoids and fipronil on biodiversity and ecosystems, and places the findings of this study and the conclusions of a similar, more recent study of EASAC in the wider context of the European and Belgian pesticide policy and of the role of ecosystem services in fostering human health.
The Superior Health Council concludes that the results of the WIA- and the EASAC-studies on the effects on human health and the ecosystem are important warning signs, and advocates the urgent need for further research on the toxicity of these compounds, human exposure, as well as on their effects on ecosystem services. Download full report

 

Bees spew water at their hive-mates when the temperature rises
Bees spew water at their hive-mates when the temperature rises Turn the air conditioner on, it’s a scorcher out there. When honeybee hives get too hot, thirsty bees beg their specialised, water-foraging sisters for more liquid, which ends up cooling the colony.
Honeybees have a few strategies for chilling out: some fan the nest, others leave the hive to increase air flow, and a few zip off looking for ponds or puddles. These “water collector” bees fill their bellies with water, fly back home, then regurgitate the liquid. Other bees slurp it up and spit it out around the hive, allowing the colony to cool as the water evaporates.
Journal reference: Journal of Experimental Biology, DOI: 10.1242/jeb.139824

 

A Sweet Example of Human And Wild Animal Collaboration
A Sweet Example of Human And Wild Animal Collaboration When a honey-hunter in Mozambique makes a distinct "brrr-hm!" sound, honeyguide birds fly to him, and appear to know that the hunter needs help tracking down a bees' nest.
This remarkable partnership, described in a study published in the 22 July issue of Science, reveals how birds can attach specific meaning to a human's call, and represents a rare case of mutual cooperation between humans and a wild animal..
Indicator indicator, known as the greater honeyguide, is a bird species that flits from tree to tree, showing humans where beehives are hidden. Alone, the bird is unable to crack open a beehive to enjoy the beeswax within. Yet, after humans harvest a hive for honey, they leave behind the wax, and, with that, compensate the honeyguides with a delicious treat.

 

Varroa mites found at second north Queensland site, prompting expanded search for pest
Varroa mites found at second north Queensland site, prompting expanded search for pest Biosecurity Queensland is boosting its efforts to find and destroy Asian Honey bees in north Queensland after the discovery of more varroa mites.
Tests on an Asian honey bee hive found in the backyard of a house in the Townsville suburb of Annandale have confirmed the presence of the potentially destructive pest.
Another hive, which also had the mite, was found last month at the Port of Townsville.

 

Nature's honeytrap for bees: Plants have a flair for arranging their flowers to lure in passing insects
Nature's honeytrap for bees: Plants have a flair for arranging their flowers to lure in passing insects Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Calgary have found that the way in which plants arrange their flowers affects the flight patterns taken by bees.
This could have an impact on how plants reproduce, as the researchers suggest that plants have evolved to take advantage of it.
It has previously been known that variation in shape, size and colour of flowers can influence how pollen is spread by insects and birds. But this is the first study that has looked at how arrangements of flowers can affect pollination.

 

What is hapening to our bees

 

Neonicotinoid-contaminated pollinator strips adjacent to cropland reduce honey bee nutritional status
Neonicotinoid-contaminated pollinator strips adjacent to cropland reduce honey bee nutritional status Worldwide pollinator declines are attributed to a number of factors, including pesticide exposures. Neonicotinoid insecticides specifically have been detected in surface waters, non-target vegetation, and bee products, but the risks posed by environmental exposures are still not well understood. Pollinator strips were tested for clothianidin contamination in plant tissues, and the risks to honey bees assessed.
This study shows that small, isolated areas set aside for conservation do not provide spatial or temporal relief from neonicotinoid exposures in agricultural regions where their use is largely prophylactic.

 

Vanishing Act: Why Insects Are Declining and Why It Matters
Vanishing Act: Why Insects Are Declining and Why It Matters Every spring since 1989, entomologists have set up tents in the meadows and woodlands of the Orbroicher Bruch nature reserve and 87 other areas in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The tents act as insect traps and enable the scientists to calculate how many bugs live in an area over a full summer period. Recently, researchers presented the results of their work to parliamentarians from the German Bundestag, and the findings were alarming: The average biomass of insects caught between May and October has steadily decreased from 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) per trap in 1989 to just 300 grams (10.6 ounces) in 2014.

 

Air pollution confuses bees and hinders foraging
Air pollution confuses bees and hinders foraging Bees have a very keen sense of smell — they need it in order to survive. Even thousands of feet from their original source, a bee can detect the odor molecules emitted by the various plants which it pollinates. But air pollution acts as a retardant, shortening the life span and travel distance of these odor molecules. As a result, bees become confused and now require more time to forage, a new study found.

 

Creating a buzz: Using bees to pull people out of poverty
Creating a buzz: Using bees to pull people out of poverty There are light purple flowers growing in between the olive trees, rocks and brown grass. The sun burns.
"Don't go any nearer, otherwise you'll disturb the bees' movement, and they may sting you," beekeeper Khairi Kharroubi warns.
We are in the middle of the countryside in the Siliana province of Tunisia, a two-hour drive south west of capital Tunis.

 

Similarities found in bee and mammal social organization
Similarities found in bee and mammal social organization New research shows similarities in the social organisation of bees and mammals, and provides insight into the genetics of social behavior for other animals. These findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, use sociogenomics - a field that explores the relationship between social behaviour and the genome - to show strong similarities in socially genetic circuits common in honey bees and mammals

 

Moss: Ending the war on nature
Ending the war on nature It is not only climate change that will alter our world as we know it, though it strongly influences many aspects of how our lands, oceans and species loss are affected. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels affect ocean resources from the blanched and weakening of coral reefs, the diminishment of marine life, migrating species of pollinators and birds struggling to find their traditional foods in customary places at the right time and often failing. Habitat destruction, the cutting down and burning of forests and taking of vast areas of land to grow monocrops such as Palm Oil in Indonesia is a primary cause of depletion of animals such as orangutans and tigers, and many other less charismatic wildlife

 

Honeybee circadian rhythms are affected more by social interactions
Honeybee circadian rhythms are affected more by social interactions Circadian rhythms are internal clocks that determine many of an organism's daily rhythms, for example sleep-wake, feeding, urinary output and hormone production. Aligned with the environment by external forces such as sunlight and ambient temperature, circadian rhythms are important for animal health and survival. Disturbances of the circadian clock are associated with a variety of diseases in humans and animals, including cancer, mental illnesses and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.

 

Field Crops and Bees: Research Shows Surprising Relationships. Need for better crop management
Field Crops and Bees: Research Shows Surprising Relationships. Need for better crop management Honeybees are negatively impacted by the insecticide-coated seeds of some field crops, yet they also seem to benefit from the presence of other field crops in the vicinity of their hives, according to research conducted by entomologists with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
“Most corn seeds planted today are coated with insecticides. During the planting process, some of that coating is chipped off and the dust is released into the air and also lands on nearby flowers and trees,” said Reed Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology.

 

Bee enthusiasts of all stripes flock to Washington amid pollinator concerns
Bee enthusiasts of all stripes flock to Washington amid pollinator concerns The purple coneflowers opened last week, and for a foraging nest of bumblebees, the flowering couldn’t have come too soon.
The larkspur has been in flower for a month, but the wiry blooms make the bee work for its supper. The coneflower is easier because the “cone” is a mounded disk of tiny individual flowers, each rich in pollen and nectar. The bees don’t need aerobatics to feed from these blooms: They just land on the central pad, fold their wings and belly up to the buffet.

 

Neonicotinoid pesticides cause harm to honeybees
Neonicotinoid pesticides cause harm to honeybees One possible cause of the alarming bee mortality we are witnessing is the use of the very active systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids. A previously unknown and harmful effect of neonicotinoids has been identified by researchers. They discovered that neonicotinoids in low and field-relevant concentrations reduce the concentration of acetylcholine in the royal jelly/larval food secreted by nurse bees.

 

Putting Honey Bees to Work for Veterans
Putting Honey Bees to Work for Veterans Honey bees may reduce stress and become a new business venture for those who have served in the U.S. military.
"We want to give back to the veteran community," explained ARS researcher Michael Simone-Finstrom. "We do that by helping veterans, both new and experienced at beekeeping, learn about honey bee biology including their pests and pathogens. Then we provide hands-on experience with sustainable honey bees our lab has developed so they can raise healthy bees from the start."

 

Anti-pesticide groups rally outside EPA
Anti-pesticide groups rally outside EPA A rally sponsored by a coalition of two dozen environmental groups, farmers and beekeepers took place in front of the EPA on Wednesday to urge the federal agency to ban bee-killing pesticides. Wednesday’s rally ended a week-long cross country tour to raise awareness about the dangers of a pesticide family known as neonicotinoids, which kill bees and other insects that pollinate plants.

 

Interpreting the Buzz of Honeybees
Interpreting the Buzz of Honeybees Every visit to the bee yard, I learn something new. Either about beekeeping in general or about my particular colonies. In previous years, I have gone four to six weeks without opening a hive. This spring and summer, the longest is two weeks. It is one thing to read about bee behavior and quite another to experience it for yourself. My latest curiosity is about the sound of the bees.

 

Bees are more productive in the city than in surrounding regions
Bees are more productive in the city than in surrounding regions Bees pollinate plants more frequently in the city than in the country even though they are more often infected with parasites, a factor which can shorten their lifespans, researchers report.

 

London bee tracking project begins
London bee tracking project begins Hundreds of bees with individual coloured number tags will be released from the rooftops of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) on Tuesday 21 June and over the next month for a project that hopes to uncover the secret lives of London's bees.
Prizes of £100 Amazon gift vouchers will be awarded for the best photo of a QMUL-tagged bee on a flower, for the highest number of QMUL-tagged bees spotted and for the best photo of a London bee-friendly garden (as judged by the research team).

 

People allergic to insect venom need precision medical diagnosis, treatment
People allergic to insect venom need precision medical diagnosis, treatment Three to 5 percent of the European population is allergic to insect venom, and many of them are at risk of anaphylaxis if they are stung. Some patients do not respond properly to immunotherapy and in some cases the treatment has reduced or no effect at all -- which can be fatal. Researchers are now developing artificial allergens and human antibodies in order to enable individualized immunotherapeutic treatment.

 

The sculpture controlled by bees: Wolfgang Buttress's Hive
The sculpture controlled by bees: Wolfgang Buttress's Hive My approach to a sculpture seeks to frame nature so one can experience it more intimately,” says British artist Wolfgang Buttress, whose 17-metre high Hive installation opens at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, in London on Saturday. “I want visitors to feel enveloped, wrapped-up and involved in the experience, rather than adopting the position of an external observer.”
Its 170,000 pieces of aluminium, suspended from the ground, appear as a twisting swarm of bees from afar, but as you come closer it becomes a hive-like structure of latticework whose low humming sound and hundreds of flickering LED lights draws you in to a multi-sensory instillation.

 

Exposed: Pesticide Industry Deployed Aggressive Lobby Effort to Quash Bee Protections
Exposed: Pesticide Industry Deployed Aggressive Lobby Effort to Quash Bee Protections Despite the abundance of scientific studies documenting the rapid and dangerous decline of pollinator populations, state and federal lawmakers have yet to pass any meaningful protections for bees.
The reason, according to the findings of a new investigation, is that pesticide giants such as Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta have deployed an aggressive lobbying campaign to dilute and suppress attempts to regulate their multi-billion dollar industry—with great success.

 

Bee vampire picks the right host to suck
Bee vampire picks the right host to suck New insights into the reproductive secrets of one of the world's tiniest and most destructive parasites - the Varroa mite - has scientists edging closer to regulating them.
"If you know your enemies better, you can come up with new ways of controlling them," said Michigan State University entomologist Zachary Huang, whose research explores the fertility of the notorious mite, a pest that is devastating honeybee populations worldwide. The mite sucks the blood of honeybees and transmits deadly viruses.

 

Honey bees’ behaviour is impaired by chronic exposure to the neonicotinoid Thiacloprid in the field
Honey bees’ behaviour is impaired by chronic exposure to the neonicotinoid  Thiacloprid in the field Key finding, p. 15:
Our study documents important sublethal effects of a low concentration (4.5 ppm) of thiacloprid taken up chronically by foraging bees.
We found that higher-order functions like navigation according to a learned landscape memory, motivation to forage and to communicate in a social context were compromised.

 

Supporting Pollinators Could Have Big Payoff for Texas Cotton Farmers
Supporting Pollinators Could Have Big Payoff for Texas Cotton Farmers According to a new study by The University of Texas at Austin, increasing the diversity of pollinator species, including bees, flies and butterflies, can dramatically increase cotton production. The researchers estimate that in South Texas, the region they studied, increasing the diversity of pollinators could boost cotton production by up to 18 percent, yielding an increase in annual revenue of more than $1.1 million.

 

New insights on how bees battle deadly varroa mite by grooming
New insights on how bees battle deadly varroa mite by grooming In a new study published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, scientists have compared the ability of two strains of honey bees to defend themselves against the parasitic mite varroa by grooming the mites from their bodies.

 

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