Bee News 3


Welsh beekeeper launches first ever bee suit that's just for women
Bee suit that's just for women A Welsh beekeeper is launching a “virtually sting proof” bee suit that’s specifically designed for women.
There are more than 40,000 registered beekeepers in Britain, including a growing number of female enthusiasts – but until now they’ve had to make do with unisex suits.
Following requests from women beekeepers, who wanted more tailored outfits, Neath farmer Ian Roberts created a female version of his Sentinel Pro bee suit.
His “Queen Bee” suit is available in sizes 10-24 and is a light lilac colour - dark colours can encourage bees to attack.


Pollination is better in cities than in the countryside
Pollination is better in cities than in the countryside Flowering plants are better pollinated in urban than in rural areas. This has now been demonstrated experimentally by a team of scientists led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). Although the scientists found a greater diversity of flying insects in the countryside, more bees in cities resulted in more pollinated flowers of test plants. By far the most industrious pollinators were bumble bees, most likely benefitting from the abundant habitats available in the city. To promote pollination, the researchers recommend to take into greater account the needs of bees when landscape planning - both in cities and in the countryside. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.


When Is a Pesticide Not a Pesticide ? When It Coats a Seed
When Is a Pesticide Not a Pesticide? When It Coats a Seed If you apply a chemical to a field of crops, either from a sprayer towed behind a tractor or from above, by an aerial crop duster, that is considered a pesticide.
However, if you take that same chemical and coat it on a seed, then plant that seed in the ground, it ceases to be pesticide—at least according to government regulators.
“That exemption has had devastating consequences for the environment, and pollinators in particular,” said Amy van Saun, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety.


Brandenburg beekeepers dump honey on ministry’s steps in protest of Germany’s agricultural policies
Brandenburg beekeepers dump honey on ministry’s steps in protest of Germany’s agricultural policies On Wednesday, two beekeepers from Brandenburg stood outside Germany’s Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture to tell their story.
Beside them were stacks of buckets labeled “Glyphosat Honig.” At one point, one of the beekeepers, Sebastian Seusing, picked up one of the buckets and dumped it out onto the steps of the ministry.

... In a press release from Aurelia Foundation in Berlin, Germany, regarding the contamination of honey with Glyphosate at levels which were massively above MRL (maximum residue limit ) up to 152 times above legal levels for the EU.
The apiary which detected the contaminatioin has been forced to destroy 4,200 kg honey, and has been forced to declare itself bankrupt.
The beekeepers have been denied any financial compensation.


Dance of the honey bee reveals fondness for strawberries
Dance of the honey bee reveals fondness for strawberries Bees are pollinators of many wild and crop plants, but in many places their diversity and density is declining. A research team from the Universities of Göttingen, Sussex and Würzburg has now investigated the foraging behaviour of bees in agricultural landscapes. To do this, the scientists analysed the bees' dances, which are called the "waggle dance". They found out that honey bees prefer strawberry fields, even if they flowered directly next to the oilseed rape fields. Only when oilseed rape was in full bloom were fewer honey bees observed in the strawberry field. Wild bees, on the other hand, consistently chose the strawberry field. The results have been published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.


Insecticides becoming more toxic to honey bees
Insecticides becoming more toxic to honey bees During the past 20 years, insecticides applied to U.S. agricultural landscapes have become significantly more toxic — over 120-fold in some midwestern states — to honey bees when ingested, according to a team of researchers, who identified rising neonicotinoid seed treatments in corn and soy as the primary driver of this change. The study is the first to characterize the geographic patterns of insecticide toxicity to bees and reveal specific areas of the country where mitigation and conservation efforts could be focused.


60 hours on burning Kangaroo Island
60 hours on burning Kangaroo Island The entomologist, the artist, and the reporter drive westward. We take two vehicles for safety. We pass a flock of dove-grey Cape Barren geese in a paddock. We pass charred beehives. Close to a thousand commercial beehives have been lost on Kangaroo Island. When a hive burns, the beeswax melts, and the honey streams out. One beekeeper found to his dismay that birds called New Holland honeyeaters had come to the river of sweetness, become stuck in the thickening honey, and died.


Brussels wants to stop unfettered growth in beehives
Brussels wants to stop unfettered growth in beehives Come springtime, the RTBF reports, the Brussels region’s environment agency Bruxelles Environnement will take up the beehives it manages at nature sites in Brussels, and remove them permanently.
The move forms part of a plan by the region to tackle the recent huge growth in members of the public keeping bees – a trend inspired by concerns about pollution, climate and biodiversity. Bees have become something of a mascot for this movement, in part because they are an excellent barometer of environmental conditions, and in part because of their crucial role in maintaining biodiversity.


The playbook for poisoning the Earth
The playbook for poisoning the Earth In September 2009, over 3,000 bee enthusiasts from around the world descended on the city of Montpellier in southern France for Apimondia — a festive beekeeper conference filled with scientific lectures, hobbyist demonstrations, and commercial beekeepers hawking honey. But that year, a cloud loomed over the event: bee colonies across the globe were collapsing, and billions of bees were dying.


Winnie The Pooh Day 2020
Winnie The Pooh Day 2020 One of the cuddliest holidays around has to be Winnie the Pooh Day, celebrated on the birthday of author A A Milne. It’s one special anniversary fans just can’t bear to miss! Every year, the occasion is marked with events such as teddy bears’ picnics, featuring plenty of honey on the menu.


EU to ban the insecticide thiacloprid
EU to ban the insecticide thiacloprid The European Commission decided on Monday (13 January) not to renew the approval of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiacloprid, following scientific advice by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the substance presents health and environmental concerns.
The insecticide, produced by the pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, has therefore been effectively banned in the EU.


The decline of insects and what it means
The decline of insects and what it means The news over the past few weeks has been riddled with headlines like “Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’,” “Monarch butterflies are going extinct,” and “The insect apocalypse is here.” If it sounds bad, that’s because it is.
You probably know that bees and other pollinators are in trouble for several reasons — including increased overall pathogen loads, poor nutrition, habitat loss and pesticide exposure.
But these alarm bells over the broader state of emergency that insects are facing underscore the fact that yes, bees and other pollinators are in trouble. But they aren’t the only insects crucial to keeping an ecological balance, nor are they the only insects at risk.


Factors affecting the reproductive health of honey bee (Apis mellifera) drones
Factors affecting the reproductive health of honey bee (Apis mellifera) drones In the honey bee, Apis mellifera, colonies are composed of one queen, thousands of female workers, and a few thousand seasonal males (drones) that are reared only during the reproductive season when colony resources are plentiful. Despite their transient presence in the hive, drones have the important function of mating with virgin queens, transferring their colony’s genes to their mates for the production of fertilized, worker-destined eggs. Therefore, factors affecting drone health and reproductive competency may directly affect queen fitness and longevity, having great implications at the colony level. Several environmental and in-hive conditions can affect the quality and viability of drones in general and their sperm in particular.


'Like sending bees to war': the deadly truth behind your almond-milk obsession
'Like sending bees to war': the deadly truth behind your almond-milk obsession Like most commercial beekeepers in the US, at least half of Arp’s revenue now comes from pollinating almonds. Selling honey is far less lucrative than renting out his colonies to mega-farms in California’s fertile Central Valley, home to 80% of the world’s almond supply.
But as winter approached, with Arp just months away from taking his hives to California, his bees started getting sick. By October, 150 of Arp’s hives had been wiped out by mites, 12% of his inventory in just a few months. “My yard is currently filled with stacks of empty bee boxes that used to contain healthy hives,” he says.


A dead-end system
Save Bees and Farmers European agriculture is reaching a dead end. Agricultural policies that were one-sidedly geared towards increasing yields by increasing the use of toxic agrochemicals have brought the ecosystem to the brink of collapse. Day by day, the biological diversity that underpins our food systems is disappearing – putting the future of our food, livelihoods, health and environment under severe threat.
The consequences for nature are disastrous: bees, butterflies and other insects are vanishing from our landscapes and previously widespread birds have stopped singing in our fields. Our streams and rivers are being polluted and we are exposed to a daily cocktail of synthetic pesticides through our food.     See also ... European Citizens’ Initiative “Save Bees and Farmers!”


Grooming behavior and gene expression of the Indiana “mite-biter” honey bee stock
Honey Bee Researchers Target Grooming Gene in the Indiana Mite-biter Strain This study was conducted to evaluate the Indiana “mite-biter” honey bee stock, which has been selected for increased mutilation of Varroa destructor mites (“mite biting” behavior). A comparison between colonies of the selected stock and colonies of unselected Italian bees showed that the proportion of mutilated mites, the severity of mutilations, and winter colony survival were higher in Indiana mite-biter colonies. Additionally, the number of fallen mites and the rate of mite population growth were lower in the colonies of the selected genotype than in those of the unselected genotype


Beekeepers traumatised and counselled after hearing animals screaming in pain after bushfires
Beekeepers traumatised and counselled after hearing animals screaming in pain after bushfires Beekeepers checking on hives are some of the first people into fire-ravaged forests, and are not prepared for the traumatic sights and sounds of wounded and suffering animals.
  • Some beekeepers say it will take three to 20 years to fully recover from hive and flora loss in north-east NSW
  • Checking on hives also causes trauma to beekeepers who come across burnt animals from bushfires
  • Some farmers are contacting the NSW Apiarists Association and offering their land for beehives

See also: Australia is on fire


Dave Goulson wonders whether allotments can save the Earth
Dave Goulson wonders whether allotments can save the Earth Is it impossible to grow food and support Nature at the same time? If we pursue intensive, industrial farming, we will ultimately wipe ourselves out, for our very survival depends upon a healthy environment. Some organic farms look pretty much like conventional farms: they are still trying to grow large monocultures of crops. Even on an organic farm, a large field of wheat does not have high biodiversity, so there are few natural enemies to control outbreaks of pests and diseases. I think there are better ways to grow food, and farming could learn something from allotments. Let me tell you a little more about them.


The Rarest Honey In The World Comes From This Near-Extinct Tree In Hawaii
The Rarest Honey In The World Comes From This Near-Extinct Tree In Hawaii The rarest honey in the world hails from the Big Island, more specifically a 1000-acre forest named Puako which doubles down as a natural bee habitat. The forest is home to Kiawe, a desert mesquite tree that is native to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which was introduced to the Big Island in 1828. These distinct wispy trees grow up to 60 feet tall and sprout bright yellow flowers from which honeybees collect nectar to produce Kiawe honey. The honeybees that produce this honey almost exclusively feed off this type of tree’s blossoms making the honey nearly 100% monofloral


Bee Vectoring Technologies Pt 1
Bee Vectoring Technologies Pt 1
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A Canadian company is taking a natural approach to protecting crops from pests and the diseases they carry … and it’s causing quite the “buzz.”
Greg Faust, with Bee Vectoring Technologies, says they’re using a, “since you’re already going that way” approach to spread biopesticides …
“We’re using bees, both honey bees and bumble bees, to essentially vector a biopesticide out to the flowering plants on their normal journey when they’re pollinating.”


As pesticide approvals soar, Brazil’s tapirs, bees, other wildlife suffer
As pesticide approvals soar, Brazil’s tapirs, bees, other wildlife suffer
Exposure to pesticides containing neonicotinoids and fipronil caused the deaths of more than 500 million bees in four Brazilian states between December 2018 and February 2019, according to an investigation by Agência Pública and Repórter Brasil.


Greece's secret to perfect honey
Greece's secret to perfect honey Few countries love honey and revere beekeepers more than Greece, and perhaps no country has a deeper history in this craft. According to mythology, Greece's first keeper of bees was the demigod Aristaeus, who was said to have learned beekeeping as a child from the Nymphs who raised him and to later pass his knowledge to humans.


EPA Approves New Fungicide to be Delivered by the Bees Themselves
EPA Approves New Fungicide to be Delivered by the Bees Themselves EPA has been a hive of activity regarding the declining bee population. The agency recently approved an organic fungicide that is to be delivered to crops via “bee vectoring”—a process by which commercially-reared bees walk through trays of pesticide powder, collecting it on their legs and fur. The bees are then released into the wild, and when they land on flowers to collect pollen, the pesticide is distributed directly to the source


Glyphosate impairs honeybee sensory and cognitive abilities
Glyphosate impairs honeybee sensory and cognitive abilities A new review of the scientific literature has found that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in glyphosate herbicides like Roundup, impairs the foraging behaviour of honeybee workers and has adverse effects at different levels within the colony.


Save the bees with this great Christmas gift
Save the bees with this great Christmas gift/ A Kinross based sustainable honey business is doing its bit to help the environment this festive season with the launch of a product to help the UK’s declining bee population. Recent figures reveal that 97% of natural bee habitat has been lost in the UK since WW2.
Webster Honey’s Seed Bombs are designed to help restore lost wildflower habitat, making an important contribution to the biodiversity of Scotland. The grenade shaped containers, which are fully biodegradable, and disappear over time, are filled with wildflower seeds which when shaken onto bare soil produce a range of wildflowers which bees love.


Study sheds light on 'overlooked' bee species
Study sheds light on 'overlooked' bee species The UK's first citizen science project focusing on solitary, ground-nesting bees has revealed that they nest in a far broader range of habitats than previously thought.
There are approximately 250 species of solitary bee in the UK, but far less is known about these important pollinators compared to honeybees or bumblebees.


Global bee decline
Global bee decline GBIF analysis supports the hypothesis that we are undergoing a major global collapse in bee diversity that needs the immediate attention of governments and international institutions. Under the best scenario, this collapse can indicate that thousands of bee species have become too rare; under the worst scenario, they may have already gone extinct. In any case, a decline in bee diversity driven by either increasing rarity or irreversible extinction will have consequences for the pollination of wild plants and crops and knock on ecological and economic consequences.


Life Through A Bee's Eyes: New Software Replicates Animal Vision
Life Through A Bee's Eyes How other animals see the world is still something of a mystery — but a new software intends to make their perspective easier to picture.
Explained in a paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, a research team has assembled a kind of extreme photoshop that lets users change image clarity, color and brightness to more closely resemble what other species might perceive.


Successful Field Trials of Edete’s Artificial Pollination Technology Advance Entry into the Huge California Almond Market
Successful Field Trials of pollination system in almond orchards  Israeli agritech startup Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture has successfully completed field trials in almond orchards in Israel using its unique mechanical pollen harvesting and pollination system. The field trials are crucial for advancing the company’s planned entry into the huge almond market in California. The trials resulted in a substantially increased yield in Israel. Additionally, Edete has recently tested its technology in Australia and proved its ability to produce high-quality viable pollen.


Neonicotinoids: Despite EU moratorium, bees still at risk
Neonicotinoids: Despite EU moratorium, bees still at risk Since 2013, a European Union (EU) moratorium has restricted the application of three neonicotinoids to crops that attract bees because of the harmful effects they are deemed to have on these insects. Yet researchers from the CNRS, INRA, and the Institut de l'Abeille (ITSAP) have just demonstrated that residues of these insecticides—and especially of imidacloprid—can still be detected in rape nectar from 48% of the plots of studied fields, their concentrations varying greatly over the years


How conventional soy farming starves honey bees
How conventional soy farming starves honey bees A significant, multi-year study published Monday provides new evidence that commodity crop production can be detrimental to honey bees, putting colonies at risk by depleting their access to food.
It’s no secret that the recent decline of bee populations is strongly linked with modern agriculture. It’s not just that commonly used pesticides can weaken and confuse bees, jeopardizing their ability to return to the hive after forage. In recent years, scientists have increasingly focused on the ways that monoculture farming—large tracts of land that specialize in a single crop—can deprive honeybees of much-needed dietary diversity, making them more susceptible to disease. Since not all pollen is nutritionally equal, bees need many different kinds to stay healthy. Now, by examining the health of honey bees in Iowa soy fields, scientists have showed precisely how damaging that lack of variation can be.


Israeli Students Make Fake Honey
Israeli Students Make Fake Honey With the global population of bees in decline, honey could become a rare commodity on supermarket shelves.
A team of 12 students from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has been working for the past year on the development of a bee-free honey. It’s produced by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which “learns” to make honey following reprogramming in a lab.
Their efforts have paid off sweetly: The team won a gold medal at the recent iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition held in Boston.Some 300 teams from universities around the world took part.


Tesco agrees to withdraw ‘fake’ honey
Tesco agrees to withdraw ‘fake’ honey Tesco has withdrawn one of its own brands of honey from sale after tests suggested it contained cheap syrups made from ordinary sugar.
The retail chain initially refused to remove the honey but changed its mind last night after a leading food safety expert called on it to do so to maintain consumer trust.
The suspected fraud was detected by Richmond council in west London, which had sent a sample of Tesco honey for testing after a complaint from the public. The council said there was "likely to be adulteration with non-natural products".


The Cocktail Effect Report
The Cocktail Effect Report UK citizens and the natural environment are being exposed to potentially harmful mixtures of pesticides.
These mixtures appear in our food, water and soil and can affect the health of both humans and wildlife. There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides can become more harmful when combined, a phenomenon known as the ‘cocktail effect’. Despite this, the regulatory system designed to protect us from pesticides only looks at individual chemicals and safety assessments are carried out for one pesticide at a time.


Pollinator friendliness can extend beyond early spring
Pollinator friendliness can extend beyond early spring A study out of the University of Arkansas investigated whether bulbs can flower and persist in warm-season lawns while providing nutrition for pollinating insects.
Michelle Wisdom, Michael Richardson, Douglas Karcher, Donald Steinkraus, and Garry McDonald sought to determine the parameters by which bulbs can survive and be serviceable beyond their peak seasons.
Their findings are illustrated in the article "Flowering Persistence and Pollinator Attraction of Early-Spring Bulbs in Warm-season Lawns" as published in HortScience.


Years-long Drought Threatens Honey Bees in Chile
Years-long Drought Threatens Honey Bees in Chile Beekeeper Pablo Alvarez sits near his hives and points up into a cloudless, blue Chilean sky. Bees come and go along an imaginary line he makes with his finger. They travel as if following an unseen road in the air.
This season, Alvarez says, there is much less bee traffic than usual.
A quick look around his yard tells the story. Southern hemisphere spring rains once led to fields of dandelion flowers in Casablanca, a town on the Chilean Pacific coast. Now, there is just dry earth.


Strategies of a honey bee virus
Strategies of a honey bee virus The Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus is a pathogen that affects honey bees and has been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder, a key factor in decimating the bee population. Researchers have now analyzed in detail how the virus hijacks the cellular protein production machinery and misuses it for its own purposes. The research, published in the EMBO Journal, is an important step towards the development of strategies to fight the Colony Collapse Disorder.


Honey bees stuck in water can create a wave to "surf" to safety, scientists believe.
Honey bees stuck in water can create a wave to 'surf' to safety When bees land on water, the liquid sticks to their wings and therefore they can't quickly fly away. To test out how bees are able to escape from such situations, researchers took a pan of water, which they let go still. They placed bees in the water and pointed a light at their tiny bodies so they would cast shadows in the container.
The team behind the study, published in the journal PNAS, watched as the bees used their wings to create waves that pushed them forward. These waves gathered behind the bees, but left the path ahead of the insects remains relatively clear. This propelled the bugs forwards.


European beekeeping in crisis
European beekeeping in crisis Europe's bee population is dying. The number of pollinator species threatened by extinction is increasing each year, and human activity is the main cause.
Those are the alarming findings of a report published by experts of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (Ipbes), founded by 124 UN member states and based on the findings of hundreds of scientists. Findings of the report, entitled Pollination, pollinators and food production are supported by other researchers as well.


New report reveals true impact of insect apocalypse and calls for urgent action
New report reveals true impact of insect apocalypse and calls for urgent action A new report by a Professor at the University of Sussex warns that if insect declines are not halted, ecosystems will collapse with ‘profound consequences for human wellbeing.’
Commissioned by a group of Wildlife Trusts in the south west, Professor Dave Goulson’s report reveals the eating birds, bats, and fish, and the cost to society in terms of the millions in lost revenue and broken ecosystems.
“They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians and lizards. If we don’t stop the decline of our insects there will be profound consequences for all life on earth.


Bees: It's not all about honey for Wales' 180 varieties
The large mason bee is one of Wales' most threatened species Could you tell a nomad bee from a blood bee or sharp-tail bee ?
Honey bees grab most of the limelight with their produce used for food, drink, drugs and skincare products. But they are just one of the 180 species found in Wales.
The rest are wild bees - a mix of solitary and bumblebees - with more than half finding sanctuary in former colliery sites, according to experts.
Seven species have already been wiped out in Wales, Buglife Cymru has said.
And five more are on the brink of extinction.


Munich study confirms severe decline in insect populations in Germany
Munich study confirms severe decline in insect populations in Germany In October 2017 a long-term, study by the Entomological Society Krefeld hit like a bomb: Within thirty years, the number of flying insects in Germany was said to have decreased by three quarters. Now a research team led by Sebastian Seibold and Wolfgang Weisser, who teach terrestrial ecology at the Technical University of Munich, is confirming the reported decline. The biologists published their results on October 30 in the journal Nature. "Previous studies have concentrated either exclusively on biomass, i.e. the total weight of all insects, or on individual species or groups of species," said Seibold, head of the research group, highlighting the special nature of his new research work. His group combined both approaches.


Rampant Honey Fraud Spawns Creation of New Certification Program
Rampant Honey Fraud Spawns Creation of New Certification Program Confusion among honey consumers in Canada and the United States reached its peak over the last few weeks when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and a lawsuit filed in Kansas alleged that the honey industry in both countries is rife with fraud.
For over 10 years, Mitchell Weinberg, founder of the food fraud investigation firm INSCATECH®, has been speaking about the pervasiveness of food fraud. In responding to the recent news about honey fraud, Weinberg stated: "Finally, consumers are being made aware of the fact that they are being grossly misled about the authenticity of the food they consume. The situation with honey is particularly egregious, because honest beekeepers and a handful of ethical honey packers are battling severely declining honeybee populations, authentic honey shortages and unscrupulous actors in the honey industry."


Argonne Team Looks to Insect Brains as Models for Computer Chip Innovation
Argonne Team Looks to Insect Brains as Models for Computer Chip Innovation Scientists at the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory have pioneered a cutting-edge neuromorphic computer chip—modeled off the brains of bees, fruit flies and other insects—that can rapidly learn, adapt and use substantially less power than its conventional computer chip counterparts.


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