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"Make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today"

 

Thousands march on Whitehall to call for end to 'war on wildlife'
Thousands march on Whitehall to call for end to 'war on wildlife' Thousands of people marched to Whitehall on Saturday to demand the government invests in wildlife-friendly policies and swiftly reverses the decline of British ecosystems.
Protesters including Billy Bragg delivered a radical manifesto, co-edited by the broadcaster Chris Packham, to Downing Street. The manifesto called for an end to the “war on wildlife” following the decline of more than half of British species in recent decades.

 

EU Parliament Report Demands Reform of Approval Procedure for Toxic Pesticides in Europe
EU Parliament Report Demands Reform of Approval Procedure for Toxic Pesticides in Europe The European pesticide regulation and its implementation need to be improved, says a draft report from a committee of the European Parliament, published Thursday. The report calls for more transparency, stating that the public must have access to the full studies that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) relies upon to form its opinions. It also emphasises that studies from the scientific peer-reviewed open literature should be given the same weight as industry studies.

 

Transcript - Interview with Dave Goulson
Transcript - Interview with Dave Goulson "I always feel if I could persuade people to stop for five minutes and get on their hands and knees to look at insects, they would realise that they are cool, beautiful, amazing things".
Dave Goulson is a British biologist actively working for the protection of the environment. He is a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and has been widely recognised as one of the leading experts in subjects relating the decline of bees and the opportunities to overcome this circumstances.
You can listen to the original audio here ...

 

Choosing The Best Beehive Depending On Your Purpose For Beekeeping
Choosing The Best Beehive Depending On Your Purpose For Beekeeping The Langstroth hive, invented in 1851, was the first beehive to contain removable frames, which facilitated better bee inspection by allowing easier access. Though it is considered the most popular among beekeepers, according to Hobby Farms, there are various beehive plans to choose from as you indulge in beekeeping. Sometimes it is unclear which type of hive would work best for you and the final decision depends on different factors that vary among beekeepers.

 

60,000 bees stolen in north-east robbery
60,000 bees stolen in north-east robbery A beekeeper has been left distraught after thieves stole four of his five hives – containing around 60,000 bees.
Erling Watt kept his colony on a farm just outside Peterhead, and was hoping to start making honey to fund his upcoming retirement.
But when he went to check on the apiaries earlier this week, he discovered they were gone.

 

Most People Hate Wasps—but They're Just as Important as Bees
Most People Hate Wasps—but They're Just as Important as Bees Why are bees held in such high-regard, while their wasp cousins seem to be almost universally disliked ?
This apparent hate for wasps most likely stems from a lack of understanding among the public of the numerous ecological and economic benefits that they provide, according to researchers from University College London (UCL).

 

Honeybee swarms act like superorganisms to stay together in high winds
Honeybee swarms act like superorganisms to stay together in high winds A swarm of honeybees acts like a superorganism that responds to physical stress by changing shape – even though doing so comes at a physical cost to some individuals.
Colonies of European honeybees reproduce by releasing a queen from the nest accompanied by an entourage of colony workers. This swarm often attaches itself to the underside of a tree branch – taking on the shape of an inverted cone with the queen safely at the centre – while scout bees search for a good place to build a new nest.
Journal reference: Nature Physics, Collective mechanical adaptation of honeybee swarms

 

Pitcher plant in France eats bee-killing Asian hornets
Pitcher plant in France eats bee-killing Asian hornets Bee-killing Asian hornets spreading across Europe now face a natural enemy that lures them to destruction - a carnivorous North American plant, French experts say.
The head of a botanical garden in Nantes, western France, says the pitcher plant Sarracenia devours Asian hornets - but not European hornets. Nor does it eat bees or wasps.

 

Our wildlife is being starved, poisoned and concreted over but it is not too late for YOU to stop it: Environmental campaigner CHRIS PACKHAM reveals how to make a difference
Our wildlife is being starved, poisoned and concreted over but it is not too late for YOU to stop it. I listen to his gentle wheezing and smile. I love him, and his contentment makes me happy. But then I love life, all life – animals have always brought me joy and have fuelled a lifetime’s curiosity and interest. And concern.
I sit down and look over a wildflower patch I’ve sown. It is pretty colourful – plenty of flowers, plenty of nectar – but I realise there is not much buzzing going on. There are no bees, no hoverflies, no butterflies flitting – in fact I haven’t seen a butterfly all morning. I get up and go searching but I find nothing. Not a tortoiseshell, peacock, or even a cabbage white.

 

How Humans Are Messing Up Bee Sex
How Humans Are Messing Up Bee Sex Fly fast and die young: That’s a male honeybee’s lot in life. With less than a one percent chance of successful reproduction, and a 100 percent chance of dying after mating, male honeybees have it tough.
But recent evidence suggests that human activity—including land development, electromagnetic pollution, and use of neonicotinoid pesticides—is making it even harder for honeybees to reproduce, to the peril of the species.
Drones exposed to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoids produced 39 percent less living sperm—and more often deliver “dead sperm” to virgin queens.

 

Asian hornet: Fowey nest destroyed as two new sightings confirmed in Liskeard and Hull
Asian hornet: Fowey nest destroyed as two new sightings confirmed in Liskeard and Hull Two more sightings of Asian hornets have been confirmed and surveillance activity is underway.
The National Bee Unit has called for the public to report any suspected Asian hornets after two further confirmed sightings in Liskeard, Cornwall and Hull, east Yorkshire. At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest the Cornwall and Hull sightings are linked.

 

Alarm over toxic pesticide sprayed on Scotland’s woodlands
Alarm over toxic pesticide sprayed on Scotland’s woodlands Scotland’s forests are treated and sprayed every year with hundreds of kilograms of a toxic pesticide blamed for killing bees and butterflies.
Our investigation has uncovered widespread use of the nicotine-based insecticide, acetamiprid, by the forestry industry, provoking concerns from experts and alarm from environmentalists who fear “creeping degradation” of nature.

 

Scottish expert Beemaster Ann Chilcott shares how she started beekeeping
Scottish expert Beemaster Ann Chilcott shares how she started beekeeping Imagine a hot sunny day in June and a cotoneaster hedge, its tiny pink flowers barely open, vibrating with honey bees almost completely covering the shrub. That’s how it was for me in 2004, but the warmth, colour, scent, and the lulling hum were all real. It was then that I thought, “Hey, little bees, you could be living in my garden and working for me.” I had no idea then that I would end up working just as hard for them

 

Bees are dying at an alarming rate. Amsterdam may have the answer.
Bees are dying at an alarming rate. Amsterdam may have the answer An unkept stretch of tall grass, wildflowers and weeds in front of a train station doesn't look like much — but it may be crucial to solving one of the world's biggest environmental puzzles.
While scientists around the globe have been sounding alarm bells over the decline of bees and pollinators crucial to the growth of crops, the diversity of wild bee and honeybee species in the Dutch capital has increased by 45 percent since 2000

 

Hi honey, I'm not from home
Hi honey, I'm not from home Every seventh jar of honey opened daily around the globe is fake honey. As global demand for the sweet stuff grows, bees are producing less as a result of pollution, thus driving up prices and attracting honey fakers.
Honey has been classified by the European Commission as sixth on the list of the most endangered counterfeited food items, Andrej Kandolf Borovsak from the Slovenian Beekeeping Association said during the Economic Forum in Krynica in southern Poland.
Honey is usually faked with the addition of sugar, molasses, potato syrup or sugar syrup, " all much cheaper than real honey, and the ordinary consumer is not able to taste the difference"

 

Most of countryside now devoid of hedgehogs, study finds
Most of countryside now devoid of hedgehogs Something ‘fundamentally wrong’ in rural landscape, scientists say, with numbers thought to have fallen 80% since 1950s
A “perfect storm” of intensive farming and rising badger populations has left most of the countryside in England and Wales devoid of hedgehogs, according to the first systematic national survey.
The research used footprints left by hedgehogs in special tunnels to reveal that they were living at just 20% of the 261 sites surveyed.

 

“Telling the Bees”
Telling the Bees While most common in the nineteenth century, the practice of “telling the bees” about significant life events endures, albeit in a different form, to the present day. The most pervasive and affecting depiction of this tradition can be found in the New England Quaker writer John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1858 poem “Telling the Bees.”

 

Millions of dead bees devastate Mexican beekeepers' business
Millions of dead bees devastate Mexican beekeepers' business The death of millions of bees in the apiaries of the La Candelaria commons, in the heart of the Maya area of Quintana Roo, inflicted disaster and desolation on the beekeepers of the region, who thought the possible cause could be the spraying of a nearby crop of habanero chili peppers.
Up to now some 365 beehives have been counted in 18 apiaries within a radius of 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the field of habanero peppers, which could be why the beekeepers are losing their main source of income.

 

Asian hornet that preys on honeybees found in Fowey
Asian hornet that preys on honeybees found in Fowey An alien invader which preys on honeybees has been found in Cornwall.
The insect, an Asian hornet, was spotted in the Fowey area, and work is under way to track down and destroy its nest. Bee inspectors are visiting local beekeepers and setting up monitoring traps.
The National Bee Unit confirmed the sighting yesterday.

 

France becomes first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides killing bees
France becomes first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides killing bees France will take a radical step towards protecting its dwindling bee population on Saturday by becoming the first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides researchers believe are killing off the insects.
The move to ban the five so-called neonicotinoids has been hailed by beekeepers and environmentalists, but cereal and sugar beet farmers warn it could leave them all but defenceless in protecting valuable crops against other harmful insects.

 

The scourge of honey fraud
The scourge of honey fraud According to the National Honey Board, per person consumption of the regurgitated nectar has doubled in America since the 1990s. As demand has increased, prices have followed. Domestic production has not. In 2016 American bees produced 73,000 tonnes of honey, or 35% less than they did 20 years ago. This has given honey-sellers an incentive to dilute it with cheaper things like corn, rice and beet syrup.

 

Neonicotinoids to be banned in France from September 1
Neonicotinoids to be banned in France from September 1 Neonicotinoid pesticides, widely seen as a key cause of declining bee populations, are to be forbidden in France from this Saturday September 1.
The ban will extend to seven neurotoxic insecticides - acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, nitenpyram and dinotefuran - and is designed to protect declining bee numbers and resultant crop failure.

 

Return of strip-field farming creates haven for rare species in south Wales
Return of strip-field farming creates haven for rare species in south Wales A pioneering farming project using field management techniques dating back to the 13th century has transformed a stretch of coast into a haven for endangered animals, birds, insects and wildflowers.
The experimental return to “strip-field farming” close to the spectacular Rhossili Bay on the Gower peninsula in south Wales is being credited with a threefold increase in the number of species of wildflowers and the appearance of rare birds such as the hen harrier and grasshopper warbler

 

Combined exposure to sublethal concentrations of an insecticide and a fungicide affect feeding, ovary development and longevity in a solitary bee
Combined exposure to sublethal concentrations of an insecticide and a fungicide affect feeding, ovary development and longevity in a solitary bee Pollinators in agroecosystems are often exposed to pesticide mixtures. Even at low concentrations, the effects of these mixtures on bee populations are difficult to predict due to potential synergistic interactions. In this paper, we orally exposed newly emerged females of the solitary bee Osmia bicornis to environmentally realistic levels of clothianidin (neonicotinoid insecticide) and propiconazole (fungicide), singly and in combination.

 

Like nicotine: Bees get hooked on harmful pesticide,.
Like nicotine: Bees get hooked on harmful pesticide. Bumblebees acquire a taste for food laced with a pesticide known to harm them, according to a study suggesting the chemicals pose an even greater threat to pollinators than previously thought.
In experiments, researchers showed that bees initially put off by sugar water containing neonicotinoids – the most widely-used class of insecticide worldwide – soon started seeking them out to the exclusion of untainted food.

 

Bee farming firm takes on apprentice in ‘Scottish first’
Bee farming firm takes on apprentice in ‘Scottish first’ A start-up business with a “pioneering” approach to the farming of heather honey has taken on what is thought to be Scotland’s first apprentice in the sector.
The Scottish Bee Company has taken on gardener Katie Warwick little more than six months after it was launched

 

3,200 Year Old Egyptian Cheese, with Signs of Poisonous Bacteria, Would Pair Perfectly with Mad Honey !
3200 Year Old Egyptian Cheese, with Signs of Poisonous Bacteria, Would Pair Perfectly with Mad Honey ! Say cheese - this lump of 3,200-year-old cheese found in an ancient Egyptian tomb shows signs of having been contaminated with bacteria that cause the disease brucellosis.
Made from a mixture of cow milk and either sheep or goat milk, the cheese filled a broken clay jar unearthed from a 13th century B.C. tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis.
As you are probably aware, cheese and honey are often paired to make a delicate snack that’s far better than either alone. So we asked Honey Connoisseur Marina Marchese, President of the American Honey Tasting Society, what the perfect honey would be to pair with this very old piece of cheese. Her response …

 

Use honey to treat a cough instead of antibiotics, health experts say
Use honey to treat a cough instead of antibiotics, health experts say When you feel yourself coming down with a cough, you may assume that the best course of action would be to pick up a prescription for an antibiotic.
In new draft guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE), experts stress the fact that coughs can be easily treated in just a few weeks without the need for antibiotics prescribed by a GP.

 

Epigenetic patterns determine if honeybee larvae become queens or workers
Epigenetic patterns determine if honeybee larvae become queens or workers Scientists at Queen Mary University of London and The Australian National University have unravelled how changes in nutrition in the early development of honeybees can result in vastly different adult characteristics.
Queen and worker honeybees are almost genetically identical but are fed a different diet as larvae. The researchers have found that specific protein patterns on their genome play an important role in determining which one they develop into.

 

Why you should be delighted to have wasps in your garden, and nine other things to know about wasps
Why you should be delighted to have wasps in your garden, and nine other things to know about wasps A traditional bane of picnics and widely regarded as malign, the common wasp is actually quite industrious and a useful destroyer of insect pests – but try telling that to little Roderick when his jammy mitts have attracted a dagger to the feast.
Britain’s eight types of ‘social’ wasps – and 230 anti-social ones ...
There are eight British members of the Vespidae family that are social wasps (many humans would say they’re all anti-social) – that eight includes the formidable hornet. In addition, we have 230 related types of solitary wasp, including the potter, mason and redoubtable beewolf. Social wasps inhabit colonies and are sometimes known as ‘jaspers’ (from vespa). They will be at their peak activity in mid-to-late August.

 

'Bee friendly' pesticide cuts colonies by half, study finds
'Bee friendly' pesticide cuts colonies by half, study finds Pesticides developed to replace banned bee-killing insecticides have been found to reduce colonies by half.
It was hoped that sulfoxaflor would provide an alternative to neonicotinoids, which have been shown to drastically reduce bee numbers, and is currently under review for licencing in Britain.
But researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London found exposure to the new pesticide reduced both the size of bumblebee colonies and the number of offspring produced by 54 per cent.

 

Worker bees select royal (sub)family members, not their own supersisters, to be new queens
Worker bees select royal (sub)family members, not their own supersisters, to be new queens When honey bees need a new emergency queen, they forego the chance to promote members of their own worker subfamilies, opting instead to nurture larvae of "royal" subfamilies, according to a study published July 11 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by James Withrow and David Tarpy of North Carolina State University in Raleigh
When a queen suddenly dies, workers must select a group of larvae to raise as emergency queens, so the question arises whether workers tend to select larvae of their own subfamily over those of others, thus promoting their own genes at the expense of those from other subfamilies.

 

Unique pollen signatures in Australian honey could help tackle a counterfeit industry
Unique pollen signatures in Australian honey could help tackle a counterfeit industry Australian honey, produced from domesticated European honey bees mostly foraging in native vegetation, is unique. Under the microscope, most Australian honey samples can be distinguished from honey produced in other countries.
That’s the conclusion of our study, the first systematic examination of pollen contained within Australian honey.
We collaborated with two major honey retailers to survey the pollen content of a large number of unprocessed honey samples. We found that a unique mix of native flora gives Australian honey a distinctive pollen signature.

 

National Honey Bee Day 2018: What’s being done to save the species in Britain
National Honey Bee Day 2018: What’s being done to save the species in Britain “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Whether or not Einstein did actually say this, it’s still a serious cause for concern.
Despite a world population of between 80 million and 100 million domesticated hives, each containing 10,000 to 60,000 bees, numbers are dwindling dramatically: one-third of the UK’s bee population has disappeared over the past decade and 24 per cent of Europe’s bumblebees are now threatened with extinction.

 

Monsanto Loses Landmark Roundup Cancer Trial, Set to Pay USD 289 Million in Damages
Monsanto Loses Landmark Roundup Cancer Trial, Set to Pay USD 289 Million in Damages Monsanto has lost a landmark cancer trial in San Francisco and has been ordered by the Judge to pay over USD 289 Million in total damages to the former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, a California father who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was caused by Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup.

 

Invasive Plants Adapt to New Environments, and Better Survive Than Newcomers
Invasive Plants Adapt to New Environments, and Better Survive Than Newcomers Invasive plants have the ability to adapt to new environments – and even behave like a native species, according to University of Stirling research.
A study has found that the behaviour of invasive plants changes over time – meaning plants of the same species act differently if they arrive in their new environment at separate times.
Scientists studied the characteristics of monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus), which first arrived in the UK from North America 200 years ago. They compared the behaviour of monkeyflowers long-established in Scotland with those introduced recently for the purposes of the experiment.

 

Bee in the City Manchester - map, locations and everything you need to know
Bee in the City Manchester - map, locations and everything you need to know An astronaut, a robot, a rock star - take a look at Manchester's iconic worker bee as you've never seen it before.
The city's proud emblem has had a colourful makeover - 101 of them to be exact - as part of the Bee in the City trail.
The public art spectacle will see brightly painted honeybee sculptures pop up all over the city and surrounding suburbs this summer for visitors to admire, each featuring a unique design created by local artists and community groups.

 

Honeybee hive-mates influenced to fan wings to keep hive cool
Honeybee hive-mates influenced to fan wings to keep hive cool Rachael Kaspar used to be scared of bees. That was before she studied their behavior as an undergraduate at CU Boulder. Since learning their secret lives and social behaviors, she has developed an appreciation for the complex, hard-working bees.
Honeybees fan their wings to cool down their hives when temperatures rise, but a new study shows that an individual honeybee's fanning behavior influences individual and group fanning behavior in hive-mates.

 

Trump Administration Reverses Ban on GMOs and Neonics in US Wildlife Refuges
Trump Administration Reverses Ban on GMOs and Neonics in US Wildlife Refuges The Trump administration has reversed an Obama administration ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and genetically modified crops on national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted, threatening pollinators like bees and butterflies along with a suite of other wildlife species that depend on healthy, natural refuge habitats.
This abrupt change in policy, announced via a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service internal memorandum, revokes the agency’s 2014 policy prohibiting the use of toxic “neonic” insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on refuges. The 2014 ban was promulgated in response to a series of lawsuits challenging the use of genetically modified seed and broad-scale application of toxic pesticides on refuges for violating environmental laws.

 

Queen bees and the microbial fountain of youth
Queen bees and the microbial fountain of youth To the untrained eye beholding a beehive, all animals seem equal, but new research reveals that some are more equal than others.
A team of researchers including three graduate students at the University of Arizona discovered that while worker bees and queens can be genetically identical, their vastly different lifespans appear to be connected to different microbes living in their guts.

 

A flower that deceives and entraps!
A flower that deceives and entraps ! We have all heard of carnivorous plants like the Venus Flytrap, that trap and devour insects. But less known is the fact that some plants of the Ceropegia species, actually deceive and entrap insects, for pollination!
Here’s how the Ceropegia flowers work, and it’s quite complicated.
Spiders and other insect predators often trap and eat honeybees, and there are some flies that love to eat these honeybees, too. The flies are able to smell the scent of the dying honeybees, and congregate to feed off the bees even as the predators are eating them. Since they are, in this sense, robbing the predators, they are called “kleptoparasites”, that is, those that live off other creatures by stealing their food.

 

Suburban Bees Still Vulnerable to Neonicotinoids Despite EU Ban
Suburban Bees Still Vulnerable to Neonicotinoids Despite EU Ban According to new research from the University of Sussex, bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to high levels of neonicotinoid pesticides. Even though there is a European Union (EU) ban on these chemicals, the ban focuses on agricultural and not residential applications. The study’s authors are urging gardeners to forgo the use of these pesticides in favor of more holistic, pesticide-free approaches.
The authors of the study say it is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides. The study sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three UK regions–Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire, and Sussex over three years.

 

Thieves steal crates of beer brewed to raise cash for beekeepers
Thieves steal crates of beer brewed to raise cash for beekeepers Heartless thieves have stolen crates of a special Manchester honey beer which was brewed to raise money for bee keepers in the region.
The Manchester Park Ale was the brainchild of the Brew Wild Manchester project, which aims to connect bee keepers, brewers and gardeners.
Profits from sales of the beer are donated to the Manchester and District Beekeepers Association, with the aim to raise awareness of bee-keeping in the region.

 

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes
A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes The brilliance of Jukes’s memoir is the way that it uses the image of the hive as a metaphor for so much else going on in the book. It’s rare to find an author who demonstrates such respect for her readers’ intelligence – the parallels and affinities are allowed to accrete gradually, subliminally, so that it’s only at the end that we recognise that a book that seemed to be about beekeeping (and we certainly learn a lot about Apis mellifera over the course of it) is actually a meditation on solitude and friendship, on urban existence, on the condition of a generation. The hive, perfectly tessellated, comes to represent for Jukes the act of writing itself, the arrangement of words into a shape that conforms as closely as possible to her particular experience of the world.

 

Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow
Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow A book about a bee that dons a disguise in order to try and save a meadow from being built over with housing. It is a story with some educational and environmental aspects within the text.
This is the download version of Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow available as a pdf file. The story has a series of line drawings ideal to be coloured in. It can be read on a PC/MAC or tablet, or partially or fully printed.
The suggested age range is 4-8 years.

 

Queen Cell Cups and Laying Workers
Queen Cell Cups and Laying Workers Queen cell cups are small cup-like structures that form the base of queen cells built for swarming or queen supersedure (replacement).
Beekeeping slang can be confusing for new beekeepers so here it is for queen cell cups versus queen cells. When empty, a queen cell cup is called just that. When containing an egg, mostly I hear beekeepers still call the structure a queen cell cup (not a queen cell). The discussion occurs mostly with swarming, a situation when the bees may remove the eggs from the queen cell cups, which would delay swarming. When a larva is in the structure, then it is called a queen cell

 

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