Monday, September 22, 2014
On July 23, 2014 nature photographer Adrie van Heerden discovered a Leucospis dorsigera wasp in his garden in Pijnacker. This is the first ever discovery of this species in the Netherlands. This Leucospis dorsigera wasp was probably a parasite on the red mason bees which make their nests in the insect hotels in the garden.
This video from Britain is called Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves.
From Wildlife Extra:
Very rare bees found on new Cornish Bartinney Nature Reserve
Two very rare species of bee have been discovered on the new Bartinney Nature Reserve near Sennen in west Penwith, reports the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
This species uses the nests of another rare bee, the tormentil mining bee (Andrena tarsata), known to only three UK sites and also discovered at Bartinney. Both are moorland species that have undergone a dramatic decline since the 1970s.
This video is called Andrena tarsata bee on tormentil.
Paddy Saunders, the invertebrate expert who discovered both species of bee during a survey for Natural England said: “The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.
“It is unusual to find such big colonies of tormentil mining bee and the Trust’s Bartinney Nature Reserve, with its big drifts of flowering tormentil, is clearly an important site for them.
“The tormentil nomad bee is a ‘cuckoo’ bee that nips into the tomentil mining bee’s nest, where it lays an egg. Once hatched the nomad’s larvae eats all the pollen that the other bee has done all the hard work to collect!
“It needs a big tormentil mining bee colony to sustain a population of the nomad. The fact that Bartinney Nature Reserve supports both these rare bees is very significant.”
Liz Cox, Wild Penwith Project Manager for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: “Open flower-rich habitats are vital for wildlife, including these bees, and this find highlights the importance of managing Penwith’s moors and downs to ensure such areas are kept open and not lost to invading scrub or bracken.”
“Bartinney Nature Reserve is one of the two reserves that the Trust recently bought thanks to public donations and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and I am sure everyone involved will be thrilled to know that the site is already playing an important role in protecting Penwith’s wildlife!”
Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager at Buglife said: “Both of these bees have been identified by our South West Bees Project as being in need of conservation action.
“We are encouraged to find that both species have been found at Bartinney, and we hope to work closely with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England to ensure that these nationally important populations thrive.”
To find out more about Bartinney Nature Reserve go here.
From the League of Conservation Voters in the USA:
|Stop the Bee-pocalypse! Take action now to save our nation’s honeybeesDear Activist,
Could you imagine a fall without fresh apples? Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie? Chips without guacamole? It’s hard to picture, but this could be our not-so-distant future if we don’t take action now to save our number one food security guard — the honeybee.
In recent years, nearly one third of commercial bee colonies in the U.S. have been dying over the winter. In Oregon last year we saw the biggest mass killing ever, as 50,000 bumblebees dropped dead after coming in contact with a pesticide used purely for aesthetic purposes. The situation is so bad that people have started to dub it the “Bee-pocalypse.”
Why is this a big deal? Because one third of the food produced in North America, including nearly 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkins, cranberries, and avocados, rely on honeybees for pollination.
Losing our bees wouldn’t just leave us without delicious guacamole and apple pie, it would be a crushing blow to our economy. We could lose more than $15 billion a year in agricultural production in the U.S.
The good news is that Congress has finally started to take notice. Just last week, a bill (H.R. 2692) to save honeybees by temporarily banning certain pesticides reached 71 co-sponsors.
This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to actual legislation to protect our bees, so we need your help to spread the word and keep the momentum going. If enough of us speak out, we can get more members of Congress to support this bill and make saving our bees a reality.
The mass death of our honeybees is not a natural phenomenon. Europe is seeing huge population declines as well. The difference is that the European Union is working to reverse this trend with a two-year ban in place on neonicotinoids, the pesticides linked to mass bee deaths. We need your help to get the United States to follow suit.
This bill would temporarily halt certain pesticides while safer pesticides are being developed. And get this — we may already have the key to a safer pesticide. Researchers in England have been investigating the venom of one of the world’s most deadly spiders, the Australian funnel web spider. The spider’s venom creates a bio-pesticide that is still fatal to common farm pests, but appears to have absolutely no effect on bees.
We have a very real shot at saving the bees, but only if we stop the use of dangerous pesticides and develop new, safer alternatives. But we have to act now to convince Congress to do something about it. There are 65 members supporting the bill so far — will you help us get even more on our side?
There’s no simple solution to the bee crisis, but we do know about some steps we can take now to move us in the right direction and the first one is passing this bill. The success of our crops and security of our nation’s food supply hinges on whether or not we can protect our bees. So thank you for telling Congress to take action today.
We can do this. Be a part of history and sign today.
After the results of government-run tests reveal that crops treated with neonics were responsible for the mass poisoning of wild bees, conservation organisation Buglife conclude that to ensure the safety of pollinators, all neonic seed treatment use must be suspended in the UK: here.
This video, by BirdLife in the Netherlands, says about itself (translated):
August 25, 2014
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.
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.
This video from the USA is called A huge Sand Bee colony near Palmdale, California.
Andrena argentata sand bees, however, are not rare in the sand dunes of Texel. Sometimes, there are colonies of thousands of individuals.
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.
After 1980, over forty wild bee species have been seen on Vlieland. Probably there are more, as there has not been that much research.
Unfortunately, the moss carder bee was not seen this year, though it had been seen in earlier years.