Bee News 2

 

 

Farmer wants a revolution: 'How is this not genocide?'
Farmer wants a revolution: 'How is this not genocide?' Massy is among scientists who believe we have entered a new geological epoch, the life-threatening Anthropocene, where human impact has permanently altered the Earth’s geology and sustaining systems, causing ecological destruction and extinction of species. “It is the greatest crisis the planet and humanity has ever faced,” he says, sitting at his kitchen table in country New South Wales. “It makes a world war look like a little storm in a teacup. And we are in denial.”

 

Ban ‘neonic’ pesticides. Our food supplies are at risk
Ban ‘neonic’ pesticides. Our food supplies are at risk The science of pesticide development and regulation is complex, so let's put things simply: Human beings rely on food to survive. Much of that food comes from insect-pollinated plants. Modern agriculture relies on pesticides to grow that food.
But those pesticides, including best-selling neonicotinoid insecticides – we have learned, through hundreds of peer-reviewed studies from around the world – are killing the pollinators.

 

Coffee, Bees and Climate Change Are Linked In Ways You May Not Have Expected
Coffee, Bees and Climate Change Are Linked In Ways You May Not Have Expected Pollinators such as bees play a key part of producing the beans that go into your morning cup of coffee.
In fact, they are responsible for about 20 to 25 percent of coffee production by increasing the plants' yield, Taylor Ricketts, the director of the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Environment, tells The Two-Way. Bees actually increase the quality of the beans by making their size more uniform.
But climate change is threatening both pollinators and the areas where coffee can grow. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says it is the first to model the impact of climate change on both coffee and pollinators.

 


How Do Bees Make Honey?

 

European Court of Justice Attempts to Stop Democratic EU Bans on GM Crops
European Court of Justice Attempts to Stop Democratic EU Bans on GM Crops The European Court of Justice attempted to remove the right of democratically elected governments across the European Union (EU) to ban genetically modified crops in a ruling released on Wednesday, in a move that has led to outrage in many EU countries.

 

Can You Pick the Bees Out of This Insect Lineup ?
Can You Pick the Bees Out of This Insect Lineup ? How can we save the pollinators if we don't even recognize them ?
Some of the insects pictured are bees, and some are not. Can you tell which are which ? [Follow the link]

 

Robotics modelled on bees
Robotics modelled on bees In a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a research group from Graz is investigating the behaviour of young honeybees immediately after hatching and successfully transfers this to robots. The bees' brood-care strategies turn out to be surprisingly efficient.
It is well-known that bees live in highly organised systems. In contrast to wasps or bumble bees, their special form of organisation helps the entire colony survive in the hive. What has been little known until now was the behaviour of very young bees on the day of hatching.

 

Honeygate: How Europe Is Being Flooded With Fake Honey
Honeygate: How Europe Is Being Flooded With Fake Honey Cheap imports of counterfeit honey are endangering beekeeping around the world, and the consequences for world food production are severe.
Foreign sugars were found 1.4 times in every 10 honey samples tested by the European Joint Research Centre, according to research published in December 2016.
The research was undertaken in response to a report by the European Parliament on the most faked foods, in which honey was ranked 6th.

 

Beekeepers affected by Harvey 2017
Beekeepers affected by Harvey 2017 Steven Brackmann President of Houston Beekeepers Association is working to raise funds to help our fellow local beekeepers recover from the devastating loss caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Not only thousands of homes and businesses have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Many beekeepers in the Southern Texas region have lost their hives to wind damage and raging flood waters. Our goal is to help our fellow beekeepers recover from this devastating disaster and to help replace the honey bee colonies that were destroyed. With the funds raised we can purchase Honey Bees, Queens and lost equipments such as hive bodies, frames, etc.

 

Pollen stays on bee bodies right where flowers need it for pollination
Pollen stays on bee bodies right where flowers need it for pollination After grooming, bees still have pollen on body parts that match the position of flower pollen-sacs and stigmas according to a new study.
Flowers depend on pollen for pollination, and flower-visiting bees collect large quantities of pollen to feed their larvae. However, there has been little work on flower-pollinator interactions in view of this conflict over pollen. Field observations suggest that flower-visiting bees have residual patches of pollen after grooming, and it has been hypothesized that these ungroomed body parts serve as "safe sites" that transfer pollen from one flower to another.

 


Neonic pesticides 'worse for bees than previously thought'
A Canadian field study suggests that the negative effects of neonicotinoids on bee colonies is worse than previously thought. Jim Drury reports.

 

Fipronil crisis: Why should we keep on using these toxic substances ?
Fipronil crisis: Why should we keep on using these toxic substances ? The withdrawal of millions of eggs from the market produced in the Netherlands and Belgium should motivate the EU to shift towards a different model of agriculture, argues Martin Dermine.
Martin Dermine is a veterinarian, beekeeper and project coordinator at Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe.
But this is not the first scandal linked to Fipronil. This insecticide was made famous, together with the no-less-famous neonicotinoids, because they have been responsible for the death of millions of honeybees in Europe

 

Honeybees become workers or queens depending on the plant microRNAs in their diet
Honeybees become workers or queens depending on the plant microRNAs in their diet Bee larvae develop into workers, in part, because their diet of pollen and honey, called beebread, is rich in plant regulatory molecules called microRNAs, which delay development and keep their ovaries inactive. Xi Chen of Nanjing University in China and colleagues, report these August 31, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.

 

Yemen's prized honey industry stung by war
Yemen's prized honey industry stung by war Yemen's ruinous civil war has taken its toll on one of the impoverished country's prized exports - its coveted honey.
Thick, rich and as dense as liquid gold, Yemen's honey has traditionally been sought after in the oil-rich Gulf, where it is seen as a delicious and natural way to boost one's immune system.
The best of Yemen's honey, known as Sidr, comes from the Hadramawt region in the southeast, which has been gripped by unrest for years.

 

37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field
37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local beekeeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.
“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. While many beekeepers blame neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.

 

Study of bee health finds no natural medicine in once-promising compound
Study of bee health finds no natural medicine in once-promising compound Doctoral candidate Evan Palmer-Young and his advisor, evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler, had reported in 2015 that a common parasitic infection of bumble bees was reduced when the bees fed on anabasine in sugar water. Anabasine is a natural alkaloid, nicotine-like chemical found in plant nectar. The researchers had hoped their finding was evidence that bees may use "nature's medicine cabinet" to rid themselves of the intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi, which can decrease the survival of queen bees over the winter and hamper the success of young colonies in the spring.
But as they report in the current issue of PLOS ONE, those results were not borne out with further investigation.

 

What's really the point of wasps ?
What's really the point of wasps ? A new citizen science survey aims to shed light on that fixture of summertime in the outdoors: the wasp. Though much maligned, these fascinating creatures perform a vital ecological role, say scientists.

 

Monty Don: gardeners should stop pulling up dandelions and ‘allow a little disorder' to save the bees
Monty Don: gardeners should stop pulling up dandelions and ‘allow a little disorder' to save the bees Gardeners should stop pulling up dandelions and instead ‘allow a little disorder’ in their plots to help the bees, Monty Don has said.
The gardening expert and amateur beekeeper said that plight of Britain’s bees was now desperate and without more help there would be ‘no pollination, no food, no more mankind.’

 


Renan Ozturk and Mark Synnott travel to Nepal with National Geographic to experience the last traditional honey harvest. Watch exclusive, behind the scenes footage of the harvest here.

 

Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs
Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs Wild bees, such as bumblebees, don’t get as much love as honeybees, but they should. They play just as crucial a role in pollinating many fruits, vegetables, and wildflowers, and compared to managed colonies of honeybees, they’re in much greater jeopardy.
A group of scientists in the United Kingdom decided to look at how bumblebee queens are affected by some widely used and highly controversial pesticides known as neonicotinoids. What they found isn’t pretty.

 

Have flowers devised the ultimate weapon of distraction ?
Have flowers devised the ultimate weapon of distraction ? Nectar, the high-energy 'honey' produced by flowers, might be a brilliant distraction technique to help protect a flower's reproductive parts, according to new research.
Rather than merely providing a 'come-on' to bees and other insects to attract them to pollinate the flower, nectar could be playing a much more subtle and entrancing role.
Scientists from across the world have studied the part played by herbivores, such as sawflies, which eat petals and nectar, on an iris found in the Himalayas. They are now confident that a visiting insect which feasts on the nectar and the gland which produces it, and makes merry, is playing into the hands of the flower and ensuring it survives and thrives.

 

Articles Link Pesticides to Soil Microbiota and Gut Microbiome Poisoning and Resulting Diseases
Beyond Pesticides Journal Articles Link Pesticides to Soil Microbiota and Gut Microbiome Poisoning and Resulting Diseases Two critical articles to advance the importance of community discussion and action on organic and sustainable practices. The lead article, Sustaining Life: From Soil Microbiota to Gut Microbiome documenting the importance of soil microbiota to healthy soil, resilient plants, and sustainability. This piece explains the essentiality of bacteria in the human gut to a healthy life, with profound implications for both agriculture and medicine.
Also in the Journal, Monsanto’s Roundup (Glyphosate) Exposed, documents the science linking the most widely used herbicide on the planet, Monsanto’s glyphosate, to the blocking of an enzyme that supports the essential pathway for beneficial bacteria, critical to human health.

 

Pesticide Levels Harmful to Aquatic Life Found in Majority of Streams Analyzed in Midwest
Pesticide Levels Harmful to Aquatic Life Found in Majority of Streams Analyzed in Midwest A new analysis published this month by U.S. Geological Survey scientists found pesticides at high enough concentrations to harm already imperiled aquatic invertebrates in more than half of 100 streams studied in the Midwest and Great Plains. The pesticide levels threaten species like the Hine's emerald dragonfly and the sheepnose mussel.
The USGS study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found an average of 54 pesticides in each stream in both agricultural and urban areas, spotlighting the ever-broadening contamination of waterways caused by the nation’s escalating use of pesticides.
“This study exposes the hidden harm of our increasing addiction to pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “When we see pesticides doing this kind of widespread harm to aquatic animals, we can be sure it has dangerous cascading effects on the entire web of life, including humans.”

 

Varroa mites – bees’ arch enemies – have genetic holes in their armour
Varroa mites – bees’ archenemies – have genetic holes in their armour Michigan State University scientists have found genetic holes in the pests’ armor that could potentially reduce or eliminate the marauding invaders. The team’s results, published in the current issue of the Journal of Insect Science, have identified four genes critical for survival and two that directly affect reproduction.

 

Neonics put bumblebees at risk of extinction by hindering colony formation
Neonics put bumblebees at risk of extinction by hindering colony formation Bumblebees are less able to start colonies when exposed to a common neonicotinoid pesticide, according to a new study. The research has shown that exposure to thiamethoxam reduces the chances of a bumblebee queen starting a new colony by more than a quarter. Using a mathematical model, the researchers found that this rate of decline could threaten extinction of wild bumblebee populations.

 

The story of honey
The story of honey The holy books describe heaven as a place where rivers flow with honey. In fact, the Quran has a separate surah called "Nahl" (meaning "bee" in Arabic) on bees and honey. In Nahl it says, "There are cures for humans in honey." Likewise, Prophet Muhammad would recommend honey for stomachaches and loved drinking honey melted in water, also known as honey sherbet.

 

High-intensity farming cuts native bees by 90 percent
High-intensity farming cuts native bees by 90 percent The research from the University of Auckland is the first of its kind in New Zealand to look at the relationship between farming and native bee populations.
Scientists planted fields of flowering plants in areas with varies levels of intensive and non-intensive agriculture and studied the insects visiting each site.
They found at plots surrounded by high-intensity agriculture, that native bee numbers were down 90 percent.

 

Asian hornet to colonize UK within 2 decades without action
Asian hornet to colonize UK within 2 decades without action The yellow legged or Asian hornet -- a voracious predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects -- could rapidly colonise the UK unless its spread is combatted, according to new research by the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle, working with the National Bee Unit.

 


The bee population has dropped dramatically and Michael Waite is taking matters into his own hands with a scheme to inseminate Queen bees.

 

Without Bugs, We Might All Be Dead
Without Bugs, We Might All Be Dead There are 1.4 billion insects for each one of us. Though you often need a microscope to see them, insects are “the lever pullers of the world,” says David MacNeal, author of Bugged. They do everything from feeding us to cleaning up waste to generating $57 billion for the U.S. economy alone.
Today, many species are faced with extinction. When National Geographic caught up with MacNeal in Los Angeles, he explained why this would be catastrophic for life on Earth and why a genetically engineered bee could save hives—and our food supply—worldwide.

 

Research links beehives, pesticides
Research links beehives, pesticides Another study looking at pesticides in beehives is underway in Hawaii.
Concentration within the samples that tested positive was an average of 80 parts per billion — ranging from zero to 330 parts per billion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t set a tolerance limit for glyphosate. In the European Union, the tolerance level is 50 parts per billion.

 

Honeybees may just be the wrong species to protect
Honeybees may just be the wrong species to protect The honeybee, a single managed species, often occupies the headlines and most of the campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of bee conservation. However, there are more than 20,000 wild bee species globally (Yes, double that of bird species!), and honeybees may just be the wrong species to protect. It is true that without a doubt the loss of many honeybee colonies due to illness or pesticide exposure is an important issue, but it is also true that the number of honeybee colonies is increasing worldwide due to different socio-economic drivers. And these artificially high densities of honeybees might not only fail to contribute to the conservation of the vast majority of bee species, but could also prove detrimental for many of them.
The paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution

 


Biodiversity Begins with a B is a darkly comic look at the importance of bees to our natural environment. It features the voice of Scots comedian Phil Kay and encourages people to take a few simple actions to help support the variety of living things around us.

 

Controversial Monsanto Weed Killer Blamed for Decimation of Uruguayan Beekeeping
Controversial Monsanto Weed Killer Blamed for Decimation of Uruguayan Beekeeping Beekeepers in Latin America are aghast that their livelihoods are being ruined by the contamination of local ecosystems with the controversial glyphosate herbicide produced by agrochemical giant Monsanto.

 

The bees’ needs: how beekeeping changed the way I garden
The bees’ needs: how beekeeping changed the way I garden Alys Fowler used to worry what people thought about her garden; now she puts her 30,000 insects first
I like flowers, bees like flowers. I like honey, bees like honey. I don’t much like being out on cold, wet days, and neither do they. We’re a match made in floral heaven. There have been times when I’ve blundered through our relationship, but getting honeybees made a lot of sense – and changed my relationship with honey.

 

Pollinators in Peril
Pollinators in Peril Pollinators have a staunch ally in Graham White. White, a small-scale hobby beekeeper in Scotland, has been an international campaigner on the dangers of neonicotinoid pesticides since 2003. To this endeavor, he brings his background in environmental education and teaching, a fascination with the biodiversity of life and his long-term involvement in environmental issues.

 

Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes
Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes Plants are among many eukaryotes that can 'turn off' one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. Researchers are now weaponizing this by engineering crops to produce specific RNA fragments that, upon ingestion by insects, initiate RNA interference to shut down a target gene essential for life or reproduction, killing or sterilizing the insects.

 

Pollen guide
Pollen guide This is a very basic guide to Pollen colours ... unfortunately your computer monitors might vary a little in reproducing the colours accurately. Also the phytocidal acids that bees add to the pollen-- to stop it geminating --probably (along with enzymes) alters the true colour of the pollens that are stored in the comb ... best to watch what the bees bring in at the front door.
It is not an exhaustive list but a simple guide to give one an idea of what your worker bees are bringing back to the hive.

 

Immunosuppression in Honeybee Queens by the Neonicotinoids Thiacloprid and Clothianidin
Immunosuppression in Honeybee Queens by the Neonicotinoids Thiacloprid and Clothianidin Queen health is crucial to colony survival of honeybees, since reproduction and colony growth rely solely on the queen. Queen failure is considered a relevant cause of colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides can severely affect the immunocompetence of queens of western honeybees (Apis mellifera L.).

 

What to plant in tiny spaces to help bees and butterflies thrive
What to plant in tiny spaces to help bees and butterflies thrive The loss of flower-rich habitat since the 1930s has taken its toll on our pollinators, but thoughtful planting of a plot even the area of the page that you are reading can make a world of difference to a bee. That may seem a drop in the ocean, but every centimetre planted with the right flowers counts. According to Richard Glassborow of the London Beekeepers’ Association, “Window boxes, planters and pots can collectively contribute to a flower-rich environment.”

 

No Offense, American Bees, But Your Sperm Isn't Cutting It
No Offense, American Bees, But Your Sperm Isn't Cutting It Editor's note: This story is for mature bees only.
Seducing a honeybee drone – one of the males in a colony whose only job is to mate with the queen – is not too difficult. They don't have stingers, so you just pick one up. Apply a little pressure to the abdomen and the drone gets randy, blood rushing to his endophallus, bringing him to climax.

 

Bees Are Starting To Evolve To Survive Destructive Varroa Mite, Researcher Says
Bees Are Starting To Evolve To Survive Destructive Varroa Mite, Researcher Says Bees in the United States and Europe are starting to evolve through natural selection to survive a mite that has been decimating their populations.
Professor Stephen Martin, chair of animal ecology at Salford University in the United Kingdom, said in some instances bees were living with varroa mites and an associated virus, without any other treatment.
“We are trying to understand what is happening,” he said.
Although the process of evolution is slow, it has given the industry hope and sparked an interest in better beekeeping methods, with people entering the industry to try and save the bees.

 

Phasing Out Pesticides
Phasing Out Pesticides Until I started working for the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1979, I rarely had come across the word pesticide and never seen the actual synthetic poison. My father occasionally used sulfur for fumigating his vineyards, the very same method Homer mentioned in Book 22 of the “Odyssey.”

 


Only two species of yeast --- ale yeast and lager yeast -- have been used for traditional beer brewing for the last 600 years. A lab in North Carolina may have found a third in the strangest place: On bees and wasps.

 

Climate change threatens domestic bee species
Climate change threatens domestic bee species There are around 550 different bee species in Germany. Most of them are solitary bees. They don't live in large beehives like the honeybee, but each female bee often builds multiple nests and feeds her offspring alone. Solitary bees use their short lifespan of a few weeks exclusively to reproduce and to provide food for their brood to develop into adult bees. Bees depend on the availability of pollen which they can frequently collect on specific plant species only.
Full text in Journal of Animal Biology

 

When Will Co-opted Figures and Board Members of Companies Like Monsanto and Bayer be Hauled into Court ?
When Will Co-opted Figures and Board Members of Companies Like Monsanto and Bayer Be Hauled into Court ? The public is being poisoned, disease rates are spiraling, waterways are contaminated, soil is being degraded, insects, birds, invertebrates and plant diversity are in dramatic decline. Humanity and the planet are being poisoned for profit.

 

Bee Brains Could Help Your Camera Take Better Photos
Bee Brains Could Help Your Camera Take Better Photos New research on how bees perceive colour could be put to good use in our digital cameras, meaning photos shot by drones or phones would look more natural than ever.
It's all to do with colour constancy, the way that bees (and humans) can tell a flower is red no matter what the colour or quality of the light – a mental trick that the digital cameras of today really struggle with.
Researchers found that bees are using two colour receptors in their ocelli (the three extra eyes on the top of the head) that judge the colour of ambient light, in combination with two main compound eyes that detect flower colours more directly.

 

Bee Kind Week – Careful, Don’t Step on a Bee Day! 10th July 2017
Bee Kind Week – Careful, Don’t Step on a Bee Day! 10th July 2017 Don’t step on a bee day is all about raising awareness of taking care of our fuzzy, buzzy friends. It’s also a great opportunity to remind each other about the importance of the bees in our ecosystem as well as sharing a few ways we can all help the bees as we go about our daily lives.

 


Unfortunately, uses of toxic pesticides are having far-reaching impacts on a wide range of environments – everything from urban parks, to croplands, to beeyards and aquatic ecosystems. Beekeepers, farmers, and consumers all need a healthier environment for bees! Honey bees and native pollinators are essential to our food supply and help to provide one in every three bites of food we eat
Learn more and take action

 

2017 Honey Survey
2017 Honey Survey We are investigating the foraging preferences of honey bees by collecting honey from beekeepers across the UK.
At the National Botanic Garden of Wales we are investigating which flowers honey bees forage on to help us inform future choices when it comes to managing habitats and planting pollinator-friendly flowers. By using DNA metabarcoding we can identify the plants within the honey and we use the Botanic Garden as our study site, sampling from our own apiary throughout the season

 

Bee groups embrace new EU partnership: trust is the key
Bee groups embrace new EU partnership: trust is the key Beekeepers, scientists, policy-makers and other relevant parties are to set up a European bee partnership that could transform the way bee health is assessed in the EU.
The pledge was the main outcome of a major scientific meeting held in Brussels yesterday entitled “Towards a European Bee Partnership” that was attended by more than 120 delegates from scientific organisations, EU bodies, researchers, beekeeper and farmers’ groups, and NGOs.

 

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