“A European bumble bee species introduced in Chile in the 1990s to supplement the pollination efforts of native honeybees has grown into a certifiably invasive species, out-competing native pollinators not just in Chile, but across the South American continent.
In 1998, the help of the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) was enlisted by a handful of greenhouses to provide supplemental pollination. The move was backed by state authorities, who did not expect the bees to go on to overtake the entire continent.”Full Story Here
From tomatoes to pumpkins, most fruit and vegetable crops rely on pollination by bees and other insect species – and the future of many of those species is uncertain. Now researchers from North Carolina State University are proposing a set of guidelines for assessing the performance of pollinator species in order to determine which species are most important and should be prioritized for protection.
“Widespread concerns over the fate of honey bees and other pollinators have led to increased efforts to understand which species are the most effective pollinators, since this has huge ramifications for the agriculture industry,” says Dr. Hannah Burrack, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the new guidelines and related research. “However, various research efforts have taken a wide variety of approaches, making it difficult to compare results in a meaningful way.
“We’ve developed a set of metrics that we think offers a comprehensive overview of pollination efficiency, which would allow researchers to compare data from different crops and regions.” Full Story Here
The state will conduct a special review of insecticides tied to the dramatic decline in honeybees across the country, a step that could lead to tighter regulations for one of the most widely used chemicals in agriculture.
It would be the third review of a pesticide by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in recent years and goes beyond what the state legislature requested last year as part of new laws designed to protect both domestic and wild pollinators. It also coincides with a much more lengthy and extensive review of the same family of pesticides that the Environmental Protection Agency launched last year, which is underway.
Full Story Here
“Bees may seem like uninvited guests at your picnic – but before you shoo them away from the fruit salad, think twice, as they play a critical role in making your picnic possible.
Some of the most healthful, picnic favorites – including blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, avocados and almonds – would not make it to the table without the essential work by bees and other insects.
Most crops depend on pollinating insects to produce seeds or fruits. In fact, about three-quarters of global food crops require insect pollination to thrive; one-third of our calories and the majority of critical micronutrients, such as vitamins A, C and E, come from animal-pollinated food crops.” Full Story Here
Scott Prajzner leaned over the bumblebee and quickly installed a tiny radio tag by using a pair of tweezers and a spot of glue.
“You have to be careful that you don’t glue their wings, so they can still fly,” the Ohio State University entomologist said softly as his tweezers descended to the thorax.
The insect had been knocked unconscious with a puff of carbon dioxide, so Prajzner was confident it wouldn’t wake up angry.
“Every once in a while, you get a flier,” he said. “But no one has been stung with our tagging research.”
Prajzner estimates that he has performed the procedure 700 times. The radio tags are integral to his research to learn more about the perils bumblebees face from agricultural pesticides. Full Story Here
Study by UC Riverside-led team shows pollutant metal kills honey bees or delays their development
Traditionally, honey bee research has focused on environmental stressors such as pesticides, pathogens and diseases. Now a research team led by entomologists at the University of California, Riverside has published a study that focuses on an anthropogenic pollutant: selenium (Se).
The researchers found that the four main forms of Se in plants — selenate, selenite, methylselenocysteine and selenocystine — cause mortality and delays in development in the honey bee. Full Story Here:
“31 billion honeybees plus 810,000 acres of almond trees equals 700 billion almonds—and one looming agricultural crisis.” Full Story Here
Pumpkin pie is a standard at Thanksgiving dinners around the country, and why not? It is delicious.
Did you realize, though, that without bees to pollinate the pumpkins, our traditional dessert would not be. And without pollinators like bees, bats, birds and butterflies, we could pretty much say goodbye to chocolate, coffee and almonds. Equally scarce would be most fruits and vegetables.
Full Story from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Here
ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned. This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Full Story Here