Bring flowers, birds, bees back to meadows


This video, by BirdLife in the Netherlands, says about itself (translated):

August 25, 2014

Farmer Bink’s Rich Meadow: ‘Sowing the seeds of love for the birds and the bees‘.

Farmer Bink wants the flowers, bees and birds back into his pasture. Help him! Share this movie and sign the petition here.

One of the bird species which biodiverse meadows in the Netherlands attract are golden plovers in winter.

Honey bee reproduction, new research


This video is called Honey Bees – Life Cycle.

From Wildlife Extra:

Researchers discover what causes honeybees to prepare for reproduction

When a colony of honeybees reaches the first stage in its reproductive cycle it builds a special type of comb used for rearing male reproductive bees, called drones. But what triggers that first stage?

A team of experts from the Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour at Cornell University, led by Michael Smith, set out to answer that question, reports the journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature.

Reproduction isn’t always a honeybee colony’s top priority. Early in a colony’s development, its primary focus is on survival and growth.

However, when the colony reaches a certain stage, its workers start investing in reproduction. The first step is building cells of drone comb, the special comb made up of large cells in which the drones are reared.

Drones develop from unfertilised eggs. Their sole purpose in a colony is to mate with virgin queens from other colonies, thereby spreading the genes of the colony that produced the successful drones.

Virgin queens in turn need to mate with drones before they can lay fertilised eggs that will become worker bees.

Queens will mate with over a dozen drones during their single nuptial flight, after which they are stocked with sperm for life.

Smith and his team were puzzled about precisely which colony features kick-start this key process of drone comb building.

Is it the number of workers in the colony? Is it the total area of worker comb? Or is it the number of brood in the colony? Or the size of the colony’s honey stores?

The Cornell University researchers found that while every colony built worker comb (non-reproductive comb), not every colony built drone comb (reproductive comb).

They discovered that an increase in the number of workers stimulated them to start constructing drone comb. This was seen whenever colonies contained 4,000 or more worker bees.

The researchers are still left wondering about precisely how an individual worker bee ‘knows’ how many other workers there are in its colony.

They speculate that this might have to do with how crowded individuals feel while working side-by-side in the hive. Further research is currently being conducted to shed more light on this mystery.

“Colonies with more workers built a greater proportion of drone comb, whereas colonies with more comb, more brood, or more honey stores, did not do so,” Smith said. “We estimate that a colony needs approximately 4,000 workers to invest in building drone comb.”

The researchers believe that their findings are also relevant to other social systems in which a group’s members must adjust their behaviour in relationship to the group’s size.

Rare bees not rare on Texel island


This video from the USA is called A huge Sand Bee colony near Palmdale, California.

Warden Erik van der Spek on Texel island in the Netherlands reports about a bee species, which is rare in the Netherlands as a whole.

Andrena argentata sand bees, however, are not rare in the sand dunes of Texel. Sometimes, there are colonies of thousands of individuals.

New bee species discovered on Vlieland island


This video from the USA says about itself:

Meet the Natives: Wild Bees

27 August 2013

Follow University of Wisconsin-Madison Entomologist Claudio Gratton as he studies native bees and their habitats in search of new options for pollinating plants.

Learn more in our related QUEST article.

Warden Arden Bruin reports about discoveries by entomologist Arie Koster about bees on Vlieland island.

After 1980, over forty wild bee species have been seen on Vlieland. Probably there are more, as there has not been that much research.

This year, two species, new for the island, were seen in 2014: European wool carder bee and Hylaeus hyalinatus.

Unfortunately, the moss carder bee was not seen this year, though it had been seen in earlier years.

Bayer’s neonicotinoids kill birds, new research


This video says about itself:

Bees Dying Off, Colony Collapse

29 aug. 2010

Imagine a world without bees..

Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world and Bayer´s best-selling pesticide (2009 sales: €606 million). The substance is often used as seed-dressing, especially for maize, sunflower and rapeseed. The beginning of the marketing of imidacloprid coincided with the occurrence of large bee deaths, first in France, later on also in many other European countries, Canada, the US and Brazil.

After huge bee mortality in Germany in 2008 which was shown to be caused by neonicotinoid pesticides the Coalition against Bayer Dangers accused the Bayer management of downplaying the risks of imidacloprid, submitting deficient studies to authorities and thereby accepting huge losses of honey bees in many parts of the world. At the same time, German authorities imposed a ban on the use of imidacloprid and its successor product, clothianidin, on maize. Italy and Slovenia imposed a similar ban.

In France imidacloprid has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers (since 1999) and maize (since 2004). In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid leads to “significant risks for bees”. The consumption of contaminated pollen can cause an increased mortality of care-taking-bees. When individual bees were exposed to sublethal doses their foraging activity decreased and they became disorientated, which researchers concluded “can in the course of time damage the entire colony”. Clothianidin was never approved in France.

Music: ‘Through Time and Space’ by Elixirion.

From Nature:

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

Caspar A. Hallmann, Ruud P. B. Foppen, Chris A. M. van Turnhout, Hans de Kroon & Eelke Jongejans

09 July 2014

Recent studies have shown that neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensable for raising offspring7.

We investigated the hypothesis that the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid,

a Bayer corporation product

has a negative impact on insectivorous bird populations. Here we show that, in the Netherlands, local population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid. At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per litre, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 per cent on average annually.

Additional analyses revealed that this spatial pattern of decline appeared only after the introduction of imidacloprid to the Netherlands, in the mid-1990s. We further show that the recent negative relationship remains after correcting for spatial differences in land-use changes that are known to affect bird populations in farmland. Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.

Bees follow queen, video


This video is about a queen bee which has landed on a building; her ‘subjects’ follow.

If a young queen is born in a bee hive, then about half of the honeybees will follow the old queen in searching a new place to live.

Niklas Haverkate from the Netherlands made the video.

Neonicotinoids kill bees, new research


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pesticides (neonicotinoids) and Bee Behaviour

3 August 2013

A science experiment showing the effect of pesticides (neonicotinoids) on bee behaviour. From the BBC Horizon documentary titled What’s Killing Our Bees?

From Wildlife Extra:

Neonicotinoids do cause significant damage to ecosystem

For the first time scientists say they are able to provide conclusive evidence that the systemic pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil (neonics) have caused significant damage to a wide range of invertebrates, including bees.

The IUCN Task Force Systemic Pesticides (a group of global, independent scientists) analysed 800 peer-reviewed reports.

They found that there is clear evidence of a serious risk to honeybees and other pollinators such as butterflies and to a wide range of other invertebrates such as earthworms and vertebrates including birds.

“The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT,” said lead author Dr Jean-Marc Bonmatin of The National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

The most affected groups appeared to be terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms which are exposed at high levels in soil and plants.

The next most affected group is insect pollinators such as bees and butterflies which are exposed to high contamination through air and plants and medium exposure levels through water.

Bird populations are also at risk from eating crop seeds treated with systemic insecticides, and reptile numbers have declined due to depletion of their insect prey.

“The findings of the WIA are gravely worrying,” said Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, Chair of the Task Force.

“We can now clearly see that neonics and fipronil pose a risk to ecosystem functioning and services which go far beyond concerns around one species and which really must warrant government and regulatory attention.”