Bee News 2

 

 

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.

 

Meet Ojok Simon: Blind Beekeeper and Holman Prizewinner
Meet Ojok Simon: Blind Beekeeper and Holman Prizewinner Imagine tending a beehive – or a whole farm of bees – with hundreds of thousands of buzzing, pollen-loving insects crawling all over you, stingers at the ready. Now imagine doing it blind. Unimaginable for most, this is just a normal day for Ojok Simon.

 

The Making of 'The Last Honey Hunter'
The Making of 'The Last Honey Hunter' Picture the most terrifying scenario you can think of. Did you imagine scaling a sheer cliff, the ground far below cloaked in fog, only to be greeted by hundreds of the largest honeybees in the world, and you have only a small piece of mesh for protection? If you did, you either have some pretty specific fears or caught the world premiere of The Last Honey Hunter at the recent Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. Starting in 2016, producer Ben Ayers worked with filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Ben Knight to tell the story of Mauli Dhan Rai, a 58-year-old man who has performed this exact feat since he was directed to do so in a dream at age 16. He and a team of assistants harvest the honeycomb and poisonous honey, which has hallucinogenic effects and has become lucrative for its believed medicinal benefits in other Asian countries.

 

Great British Bee Count 2017 – in pictures
Great British Bee Count 2017 – in pictures So far, 15,696 people have taken part in the 2017 Great British Bee Count, recording 288,341 bees, some of which are pictured here. This year’s count will run until 30 June 2017"
So far, 15,696 people have taken part in the 2017 Great British Bee Count, recording 288,341 bees, some of which are pictured here.
Download the free app to monitor and learn about our endangered bee population and get tips for bee-friendly planting

 

Field Studies Confirm Neonicotinoids’ Harm to Bees
Field Studies Confirm Neonicotinoids’ Harm to Bees Two large studies find that, in real-world conditions, the insecticides are detrimental to honey bees and bumblebees.
For years, scientists have been amassing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides, meant to keep insect pests off agricultural crops, are also harming essential pollinators, bees. But laboratory studies are limited and real-world simulations have been lacking. Two large field studies:
  • N. Tsvetkov et al., “Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey-bee health near corn crops,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aam7470, 2017.
  • B.A. Woodcock et al., “Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aaa1190, 2017.
published today (June 29) in Science largely confirm that neonicotinoids are bad for bees.

 

Environmental risks of neonicotinoid pesticides: a review of the evidence post 2013
Environmental risks of neonicotinoid pesticides: a review of the evidence post 2013 Neonicotinoid pesticides were first introduced in the mid-1990s, and since then, their use has grown rapidly. They are now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, with the majority of applications coming from seed dressings. Neonicotinoids are water-soluble, and so can be taken up by a developing plant and can be found inside vascular tissues and foliage, providing protection against herbivorous insects. However, only approximately 5% of the neonicotinoid active ingredient is taken up by crop plants and most instead disperses into the wider environment. Since the mid-2000s, several studies raised concerns that neonicotinoids may be having a negative effect on non-target organisms, in particular on honeybees and bumblebees. In response to these studies, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was commissioned to produce risk assessments for the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam and their impact on bees

 

The EPA Quietly Approved Monsanto's New Genetic-Engineering Technology
The EPA Quietly Approved Monsanto's New Genetic-Engineering Technology DvSnf7 dsRNA is an unusual insecticide. You don’t spray it on crops. Instead, you encode instructions for manufacturing it in the DNA of the crop itself. If a pesky western corn rootworm comes munching, the plant’s self-made DvSnf7 dsRNA disrupts a critical rootworm gene and kills the pest.

 

Hot cities spell bad news for bees
Hot cities spell bad news for bees A new study from North Carolina State University finds that common wild bee species decline as urban temperatures increase.
"We looked at 15 of the most common bee species in southeastern cities and -- through fieldwork and labwork -- found that increasing temperatures in urban heat islands will have a negative effect on almost all of them," says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work.

 

Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis
Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis A review of the literature reveals that both managed honey bees and native pollinators face several sources of stress that affect colony health. The main findings include:
  • Honey bee mortality, as measured by the loss of a honey bee colony, is higher than in previous decades. Annual losses varied between 29 and 45 percent of colonies from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
  • Assessing the status of native pollinators is difficult because long-term population data are not available. However, evidence points to population decline for several wild bee species (notably bumblebees) and some butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds.
  • A variety of stressors affect the health of honey bee colonies. Beekeepers reported that in spring 2015, nearly 45 percent of colonies were affected by varroa mites, 20 percent were affected by other pests, and 17 percent were affected by pesticides.

 

Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks
Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show.
Biology Letters published the research, which may have implications for the survival of both rare wild plants and major food crops as many pollinator species are in decline.

 

Beyond Blades of Grass
Beyond Blades of Grass The other night, mowing my lawn for the first time this spring, I was instantly transported back to my childhood. “I love that smell,” I later said to my fiancée, and didn’t have to explain; we were two suburban-raised Minnesota kids for whom the scent of freshly cut grass has long confirmed winter’s end. Like many an American teenager, I had a monopoly on mowing my neighborhood’s lawns, coming home most summer days with inch-long clippings clinging to socks and grass-stained shoes. I learned to see the perfect lawn as a lush monochrome carpet of Kentucky bluegrass, trimmed and deep green.

 

Why Honeybees Are The Wrong Problem To Solve
Why Honeybees Are The Wrong Problem To Solve It's an attribution that might make sense at first glance, given that Bergmann is the celebrated creator of what's called the Pollinator Pathway project. So, pollinators, honeybees — what's the problem?
Well, spend a little time with Bergmann and you'll see that the issue she's trying to address with the Pollinator Pathway is way bigger than honeybees and their current colony collapse disorder troubles. In fact, for Bergmann, the honeybees are actually part of a much bigger problem she's trying to solve. And that much bigger problem is nothing less than how to design the planet in a human-dominated age.

 

Bee antennae offer links between the evolution of social behavior and communication
Bee antennae offer links between the evolution of social behavior and communication As bees' social behavior evolved, their complex chemical communication systems evolved in concert. An international team of researchers, including those from Princeton University, reported that a certain species of bees, called halictid bees, have more sensorial machinery compared with related solitary species. The difference is measured by the density of tiny, hollow sensory hairs called sensilla on their antennae.

 

Preliminary: 2016-2017 state total and average losses
Preliminary:  2016-2017 state total and average losses The Bee Informed Partnership has released preliminary state losses for 2016-2017. If there are fewer than 5 respondents in a state, we will not release those numbers to preserve confidentiality. These tables represent Annual loss, Winter Loss and Summer Loss. We also report Total Loss and Average Loss.

 

The Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum
The Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum The Tree Bumblebee - Bombus hypnorum, arrived in S. England in 2001, and is well established as far North as the Central Belt. A report has just come in (May 2017) of workers at Aberlour, so far the farthest north confirmed record. We must be aware now of the possibility that it is in or very close to Highland. It is a very distinctive bee, with a brown/black/white pattern. See the BWARS information sheet.
It can be confused with a very common hoverfly mimic, Eristalis intricarius, which has only two (not four) wings, a dark patch on the wing, short antennae, partly pale legs, and has typical hoverfly flight. Steven Falk’s picture is here

 

Toxic Morality Is Killing Honeybees
Toxic Morality Is Killing Honeybees There’s something that attracts me to honeybees. First of all, it’s what they do. Their honey is as close as you can get to the food of the gods. How can these tiny insects create such divine food ?
Second, honeybees pollinate a considerable number of our crops. More broadly, the pollination of bees touches to some degree something like 75 percent of crops and almost 90 percent of wild flowers. All in all, bees have been working next to humans for millennia. About five to eight percent of the 2015 crops worth $ 577 billion was a gift of animal pollinators, the vast number of which were most likely bees.

 

Combined, a pesticide and a parasite are harder on bumblebees than either alone.
Combined, a pesticide and a parasite are harder on bumblebees than either alone. A contract research organization (CRO) for the crop protection, pharmaceutical, industrial chemical and consumer product industries, on June 1 announced the publication of the white paper “Pollinators, Pesticides and Parasites” authored by ecotoxicologist and Smithers Viscient Study Director, Aline Fauser, PhD. The white paper evaluates the correlation between the increase in use of pesticides and the decrease of pollinators around the world. The white paper, available for download here

 

To those who support the renewal of the registration of glyphosate or remain silent about it
To those who support the renewal of the registration of glyphosate or
remain silent about it “There are no safe levels of glyphosate. Glyphosate is a synthetic amino acid and analogue of our canonical amino acid glycine and participates in plant and animal biology. One microgram of glyphosate technical acid ( N-phosphonylmethyl glycine) contains 3.561 trillion molecules each capable of integrating with a protein altering shape, folding and function."
"The fact that glyphosate integrates with human enzymes should be reason enough to ban this chemical completely. There should be no glyphosate or glufosinate in the food supply nor in drinking water, air or soil. Glyphosate is a synthetic amino acid that should have no place in biology."

 


Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive
Nearly every foraging honey bee in the state of Indiana will encounter neonicotinoids during corn planting season, and the common seed treatments produced no improvement in crop yield, according to a Purdue University study.
Neonicotinoids, including clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are a class of insecticide commonly applied as a coating to corn and soybean seeds to protect them from early-season pests. Since the coatings are sticky, a talc or graphite powder is added to vacuum systems in planters to keep the seeds from clumping. Powder exhausted from the planter contains neonicotinoids.

 

Neonic pesticides threaten wild bees’ spring breeding
Neonic pesticides threaten wild bees’ spring breeding Neonicotinoid pesticides hinder wild queen bumblebee’s reproductive success, according to a new University of Guelph study.
The study is the first to link exposure to thiamethoxam — one of the most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides — to fewer fully developed eggs in queens from four wild bumblebee species that forage in farmland.
If queens need to use energy to clear pesticides from their system instead of investing in eggs, then fewer fully developed eggs will result, he said.

 

Blaze at honey factory destroys hives full of bees in North Canterbury
Blaze at honey factory destroys hives full of bees in North Canterbury Hives full of bees have been burned in a North Canterbury honey factory blaze...
Two buildings were "extensively damaged" in the fire at the New Zealand Natural Honey factory in Okuku, northwest of Christchurch, Fire Service spokesman Ian Littlejohn said.

 

Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive
Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive Nearly every foraging honey bee in the state of Indiana will encounter neonicotinoids during corn planting season, and the common seed treatments produced no improvement in crop yield, according to a Purdue University study.
Neonicotinoids, including clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are a class of insecticide commonly applied as a coating to corn and soybean seeds to protect them from early-season pests. Since the coatings are sticky, a talc or graphite powder is added to vacuum systems in planters to keep the seeds from clumping. Powder exhausted from the planter contains neonicotinoids

 

Alternatives to Neonicotinoid Insecticide-Coated Corn Seed: Agroecological Methods are Better for Farmers and the Environment
Alternatives to Neonicotinoid Insecticide-Coated Corn Seed: Agroecological Methods are Better for Farmers and the Environment Corn seed coated with neonics is by far the most extensive use of any insecticides in the U.S. Neonics have been strongly implicated in serious harm to pollinators, such as bees, that are needed for crop productivity, and beneficial insects that protect our crops. They also harm aquatic organisms that support the ecological health of rivers and lakes, are a threat to birds, and may harm people.
Download the Report

 


Wild bees and other pollinators are in decline, threatening pollination of crops and wildflowers. Dave Goulson will talk about the reasons for these declines, and focus particularly on pesticides. Modern farming has become dependent on heavy pesticide use, and this is highly likely to be contributing significantly to declines of bees.
Dave will propose ways forward for food production: how do we feed ourselves without wiping out bees and other wildlife ?; does Brexit offer an opportunity ?

 

Caffeine Makes For Busy Bees, Not Productive Ones
Caffeine Makes For Busy Bees, Not Productive Ones A caffeinated bee is a busier bee. It’ll work harder to find food, and to communicate the location of said food to other bees. It will, however, misjudge the quality of the food it finds, and so make its colony less productive. The irony of writing about this as I sip an unwisely strong espresso at 10 pm is not lost on me.
The caffeine in coffee might give me a mental kick, but many plants rely on its bitter taste to deter plant-eating animals. Others, however, seem to bait themselves with caffeine, doping their nectar with low concentrations of the stuff. Why add a bitter deterrent to a liquid that’s meant to entice and attract pollinators?

 

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