Bee News 2

 

 

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?

 

The European Commission has authorised our product VarroMed® as a new Varroa treatment
The European Commission has authorised our product VarroMed® as a new Varroa treatment
  • 1st EU wide registered veterinary medicine (VMP) for bees!
  • 1st treatment against Varroasis in honey bee colonies with and without brood.
  • 1st Varroa Treatment approved for Spring, Autumn and Winter treatment.
  • 1st product to have a zero day withdrawal period in this combination.
Full details of this product can bee downloaded ... here

 

Revealed: Which manuka honey is really good for you? And which, like the one from Harrods, fail a new scientific test of their health benefits
Revealed: Which manuka honey is really good for you? And which, like the one from Harrods, fail a new scientific test of their health benefits
  • Studies have found that manuka honey has antibacterial properties with fans including Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Katherine Jenkins
  • What many buyers don’t realise is there is no legal definition of manuka honey meaning it can be diluted with cheaper honey and still be a legal product
  • A new test by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) could be the key to working out if your manuka is worth the money
  • FEMAIL puts some of the most popular brands of manuka honey to the test

 

“It is said that smoke calms honeybees”
It is said that smoke calms honeybees The perception that honeybees can escape an approaching wildfire by absconding in advance of the fire is so well entrenched that no thought appears to have been given to see that it is an utter fallacy. Entire apiaries in the Western Cape have been utterly consumed by fire on a fairly regular basis over the years with not a single swarm issuing from them as the fire bears down on the apiary.

 

Are you one of the 80% who will quit ?
Are you one of the 80% who will quit? Rumour has it that 80% of new beekeepers will quit within the first two years. I don’t know how accurate that estimate is. Like other statistics related to beekeeping, it seems to survive with no one keeping score.
Beekeeping has a romantic aspect that attracts a wide following, but the day-to-day life of a beekeeper is anything but romantic.

 

How toxic pesticides in ‘insect-friendly’ plants sold in garden centres could be killing endangered bees
How toxic pesticides in ‘insect-friendly’ plants sold in garden centres could be killing endangered bees
  • More than 70% of 'pollinator-friendly' specimens tested positive for pesticides
  • Type of heather sold at Wyevale contained five insecticides and five fungicides
  • Experts have expressed concern at the effect the plant can have on insects
  • Full study text ... here

 

Where have all the insects gone ?
Where have all the insects gone ? Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. "If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen," says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. "I'm a very data-driven person," says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. "But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don't see that mess anymore."

 

Lyme disease sufferer claims bee stings help control her symptoms
Lyme disease sufferer claims bee stings help control her symptoms Ingrid Watt, 36, who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Inverness, believes she has had the disease, which be transmitted to humans by tick bites, since she was 18.
Underlying health problems became worse five years ago and included reoccurring shingles and neurological issues.
She believes properties in the bee venom help control her Lyme disease

 

Why has Labour included bees in its manifesto?
Why has Labour included bees in its manifesto? If you were wondering why bees popped up in the Labour party’s leaked manifesto this week, then here’s the answer.
Since 1900 about 20 bee species have become extinct in the UK and 35 more are now at risk.
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, between 1980 and 2010, 51% of pollinator species – including all bee species and wasps – became less widespread, with 36% showing a strong decrease.

 

Court Holds Bee-killing Pesticide Approvals Violated the Law
Court Holds Bee-killing Pesticide Approvals Violated the Law A Federal Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) systematically violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – a key wildlife protection law – when it approved bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids. In a case ongoing for the last four years, brought by beekeepers, wildlife conservation groups, and food safety and consumer advocates, Judge Maxine Chesney of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that EPA had unlawfully issued 59 pesticide registrations between 2007 and 2012 for a wide variety of agricultural, landscaping and ornamental uses.

 

How Varroa mites take advantage of managed beekeeping practices
How Varroa mites take advantage of managed beekeeping practices In an article in the Entomological Society of America's Environmental Entomology, researchers argue that the Varroa mite has "co-opted" several honey bee behaviors to its own benefit, allowing it to disperse widely even though the mite itself is not a highly mobile insect. The mite's ability to hitchhike on wandering bees, the infections it transmits to bees, and the density of colonies in managed beekeeping settings make for a deadly combination.

 


Can Mushrooms Save the Honey Bee? | bioGraphic
Researchers at Washington State University have been fighting back by treating hives with mushroom spores and extracts that are toxic to varroa mites. As a bonus, the mushroom’s antiviral properties keep bees healthy and living longer..

 

Bumblebees: Pesticide 'reduces queen egg development'
Bumblebees: Pesticide 'reduces queen egg development' Use of a common pesticide in spring could have an impact on wild bumblebees by interfering with their life cycle, a UK study suggests.
The team, who looked at wild bumblebees caught in the English countryside, say the insecticide, thiamethoxam, reduces egg development in queen bees.
They say this is likely to reduce bee populations later in the year.
Thiamethoxam is one of three neonicotinoid insecticides currently restricted for use by the EU.

 

The Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
The Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services The objective of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is to provide Governments, private sector, and civil society with scientifically credible and independent up-to-date assessments of available knowledge to make informed decisions at the local, national and international level.
Full report 556 pages !

 

First Time Nicotine-Based Pesticides Found in Tap Water While A Colorado Honey Beekeeper Loses 100% of His Colonies
First Time Nicotine-Based Pesticides Found in Tap Water While A Colorado Honey Beekeeper Loses 100% of His Colonies April 28, 2017 Niwot, Colorado - Earlier this month on April 5, 2017, The Washington Post headlined, “First Evidence Found of Popular Farm Pesticides in Drinking Water.” Over the past decade since the beginning of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD see websites below) was first reported in Pennsylvania in the winter of 2006-2007, honey bee keepers have pointed to nicotine-based pesticides as the bee killer.
In the past ten years, many honey beekeepers in North America have lost 80% to 100% of their colonies and have had to give up the business altogether or try to start over with all new insects. But what no beekeeper has been able to do is protect honey bees from the now-widespread assaults of nicotine-based insecticides that are everywhere in the corn, alfalfa, soybeans and other crop fields of the world. One of those honey beekeepers who has now lost 100% of his colony is Tom Theobald

Interview:

 

Healthy honey bees and sustainable maize production: why not ?
Healthy honey bees and sustainable maize production: why not ? In the early 2000s, Italian beekeepers began to report bee mortality events linked to maize sowing. Evidence pointed to three neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam) and a phenylpyrazole (fipronil) used for seed dressing that were dispersed in the environment during sowing.
Here we show that in Italy after the precautionary suspension, the number of bee mortality events linked to maize sowing drastically declined.

 

Are neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments endangering wild bees ?
Are neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments endangering wild bees ? “Federal protections may be the only thing standing between the bumble bee and extinction,” said Rebecca Riley, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, after the Trump administration released its hold in March and agreed to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered.
Bee activists are now lobbying the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list three other wild bumble bee species: the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), the yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) and Franklin’s bumblebee (Bombus franklini).

 

Common pesticide damages honey bee's ability to fly
Common pesticide damages honey bee's ability to fly Biologists at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

 

Wax Worms to the Rescue !
Wax Worms to the Rescue ! A research scientist at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Federica Bertocchini, has discovered that wax worms (Galleria mellonella), which usually feed on honey and wax from the honeycombs of bees, are capable of degrading plastic. This worm is capable of biodegrading polyethylene, one of the toughest plastic materials that exists, and which is used to make shopping bags and food packaging, amongst other things.

 


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Bees face heavy pesticide peril from drawn-out sources
Bees face heavy pesticide peril from drawn-out sources Honeybees - employed to pollinate crops during the blooming season - encounter danger due to lingering and wandering pesticides, according to an analysis of the bee’s own food.
Researchers used 120 pristine honeybee colonies that were placed near 30 apple orchards around New York state. After allowing the bees to forage for several days during the apple flowering period, the scientists examined each hive’s “beebread” – the bees’ food stores made from gathered pollen – to search for traces of pesticides.

 

Birds vs. bees: Study helps explain how flowers evolved to get pollinators to specialize
Birds vs. bees: Study helps explain how flowers evolved to get pollinators to specialize Ecologists who study flowering plants have long believed that flowers evolved with particular sets of characteristics to attract specific pollinators. But a recent article suggests that flowers visited almost exclusively by hummingbirds are designed not to lure birds, but to confuse bumblebees and cost them precious time. This extra cost leads most bees to seek nectar rewards elsewhere, thus enabling the plants to more effectively attract more efficient hummingbird pollinators.

 

Which body part hurts the most when stung by a bee?
Nicknamed 'cow killers', you don't want to be stung by a velvet ant When entomologist Justin Schmidt created the "Schmidt Pain Scale for Stinging Insects," he gave the world the first measure for comparing the pain of a yellow-jacket sting (he describes it as "hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue") to that of a tarantula hawk wasp ("blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath").

 

Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study
Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

 

Get to Know Tropilaelaps Mites, Another Serious Parasite of Honey Bees
Get to Know Tropilaelaps Mites, Another Serious Parasite of Honey Bees The plight of honey bees is well documented, as is the cause of much of their grief: parasitic mites. Varroa destructor gets the largest amount of attention as the most devastating parasite of European honey bees (Apis mellifera), but other serious parasitic mites exist as well. In a new review article published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, a group of entomologists profile Tropilaelaps, a genus of mites found in Asia that parasitizes honey bees and could pose a threat to global European honey bee populations if it is introduced into new areas.

 

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds
The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them.

 

Rare black bees worth £1,000 stolen in Western Isles
Rare black bees worth £1,000 stolen in Western Isles The two hives on Harris were part of efforts to save the threatened native European honeybee species, generally known as black bees due to their dark colouring.
Estimates put the loss around £1,000.
Beekeeper Gavin Jones believes his hives, kept in the remote village of Manish in eastern Harris, were deliberately targeted.
He was off the island caring for his dying father when the thieves struck.

 

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