More wild bees good for humans

This video from the USA says about itself:

25 August 2015

Everyone knows honey bees, but the world is full of different kinds of bee species that are important for pollinating many plants. Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe, a specialist on bees, shows how important and diverse bees are in this older Naturalist Outreach STEM video.

This video was produced by Drs. Linda Rayor, Margarita Lopez-Uribe, and Cornell University’s Naturalist Outreach Program. The videos were funded by Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York State 4-H. Look into both programs for more good STEM materials and videos.

From Rutgers University in the USA:

The more kinds of bees, the better for humans

Study of 48 farms in two states shows abundance of species means lots of pollination

February 15, 2018

The larger an area, the more species of wild bees are needed to pollinate crops, a Rutgers University study shows.

The findings appear today in the journal Science.

Many controlled ecological experiments have shown increased pollination results from having more species, but the Rutgers-led study is one of the first to confirm that increase in nature. The researchers observed, collected and identified more than 100 species of wild bees pollinating crop flowers on 48 farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over several years. More than half (55) of these species were needed for pollination at one or more farms in one or more years.

Pollination is an “ecosystem service” — one of the life-sustaining benefits, like clean air and water, we receive from nature.

“Our results confirm the importance of biodiversity in keeping the planet habitable for human beings, at least if our findings apply to other ecosystem functions as well”, said lead author Rachael Winfree, a Rutgers University-New Brunswick ecologist.

Scientists estimate that wild pollinators provide as much as half the crop pollination that occurs worldwide. At a time when domestic honeybees in North America are beset with colony collapse and other problems, the role of wild pollinators becomes even more important.

“I like to think of this as a real-world question,” Winfree said. “These are real farms and real farmers, and each farmer needs his crops pollinated. The answer turns out to be, that when you require that all farms are pollinated, you need an order of magnitude more bee species than has been needed in experiments.”

In her earlier work, Winfree made several suggestions for farmers and landowners who wanted to encourage wild pollinators to pollinate their crops.

“Farmers can plant fallow fields and road edges with flowering plants, preferably plants whose flowering periods are different, because wild pollinators need to be supported throughout the growing season,” Winfree said. “They can reduce pesticide use and avoid spraying during crop bloom when more bees are in the crop field.”

The study also included researchers from Rutgers, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Spain, the University of Minnesota, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Manitoba.


Rare bee is back in the Netherlands

Sphecodus spinulosus bee, photo by Theo Zeegers

On 17 May 2017, a Sphecodes spinulosus bee was seen near Rhoon in the Netherlands.

This rare insect had been seen for the last time in the Netherlands in 1998.

Good British bee news, but …

This video from the USA says about itself:

EPA Finally Discovers What’s Killing The Bees

10 January 2016

The EPA has concluded what is causing the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. To no ones real surprise it was a chemical pesticide that has caused the mass die-off of this important species. Ana Kasparian, Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show), Jayar Jackson, and Becca Frucht hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

“Bees are dying in record numbers—and now the government admits that an extremely common pesticide is at least partially to blame. For more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency has been under pressure from environmentalists and beekeepers to reconsider its approval of a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, based on a mounting body of research suggesting they harm bees and other pollinators at tiny doses. In a report released Wednesday, the EPA basically conceded the case. The report card was so dire that the EPA “could potentially take action” to “restrict or limit the use” of the chemical by the end of this year. Marketed by European chemical giants Syngenta and Bayer, neonics are the most widely used insecticides both in the United States and globally. In 2009, the agency commenced a long, slow process of reassessing them—not as a class, but rather one by one (there are five altogether). Meanwhile, tens of millions of acres of farmland are treated with neonics each year, and the health of US honeybee hives continues to be dismal.”

Read more here.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Bee fans welcome government pesticide ban

Friday 10th November 2017

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners welcomed the government’s announcement yesterday that it will ban a certain type of pesticide to save bees but warned it against “repeating past mistakes” by the use of other harmful chemicals.

Neonicotinoids, which present a risk to honey bees, have been banned for use on crops such as the bright yellow oilseed rape plant by the European Union since 2013.

The EU Commission has since proposed restricting the use of three neonicotinoids to plants in greenhouses, which would extend the ban to crops such as sugar beet and some cereals.

In a reversal of the previous position held by his department, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said new evidence indicated that the risk to bees and other insects from the chemicals was “greater than previously understood.”

Britain will now support a total EU-wide ban on bee-harming pesticides in the countryside, a position it will maintain after leaving the bloc.

Mr Gove claimed he wanted to see a “green Brexit” in which environmental standards were improved, but the decision appears to have been taken on purely economical grounds as he described bees as a “key part in our £100 billion food industry.”

However, they are also a key part of wildlife food chains and environmental campaigners fear that farmers may use other harmful chemicals instead.

Professor Dave Goulson, of the University of Sussex, said: “If the pesticide industry simply replace neonicotinoids with some new generation of pesticides, we will not have made progress but will simply be repeating mistakes we have made over and over again for 70 years.”

Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett welcomed the decision, but said: “We now need to move away from chemical-intensive farming and instead boost support for less damaging ways of tackling persistent weeds and pests.”

Tories adopt Labour’s policy to back total ban on bee-harming pesticides: here.

Bees pollinating flowers, new research

This video says about itself:

People, Plants and Pollinators | Nat Geo Live

19 September 2011

Emerging Explorer Dino Martins says that from long-tongued bees to hawk moths, pollinators are the hidden workers that keep the planet running.

By Maria Temming:

Pollen hitches a ride on bees in all the right spots

Hard-to-groom zones line up with where flower reproductive parts touch the insects

2:00pm, September 6, 2017

Bee bodies may be built just right to help pollen hitch a ride between flowers.

For the first time, scientists have identified where and how much pollen is left behind on bees’ bodies after the insects groom themselves. These residual patches of pollen align with spots on bees’ bodies that touch flowers’ pollen-collecting reproductive parts, researchers report online September 6 in PLOS ONE.

Typically, when honeybees and bumblebees visit flowers for nectar, they brush much of the pollen that powders their bodies into pocketlike structures on their legs to carry home for bee larvae to eat. In fact, bees are so good at stashing pollen that less than 4 percent of a flower’s pollen grains may reach the pollen-receiving parts of a second flower of the same species. Given bees’ pollen-hoarding prowess, researchers wondered how they came to play such a significant role in plant reproduction.

So biologist Petra Wester and colleagues put buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and European honeybees (Apis mellifera) into jars containing pollen grains. As the bees whizzed around, they stirred up the pollen, evenly coating themselves in just a few minutes. When placed in clean jars, the insects groomed themselves. Even after a half hour of grooming, the insects still had pollen caked on some areas of their bodies, including the tops of their heads, thoraxes and abdomens.

“They cannot reach these spots so easily,” says Wester, of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany, “similar to the fact that people cannot reach their back so easily.”

Wester and colleagues placed other bees in cages with flowers whose pollen-producing anthers and pollen-collecting stigmas had been stained with fluorescent dyes. When the researchers later examined these bees, they found dye smeared on the same ungroomed areas. These findings suggest that these “safe sites” for pollen on bees’ bodies play an important role in pollination.

Scientists discover the secret to bees’ flawless navigation: here.

Increased agricultural production has likely led to loss, fragmentation, and degradation of flower-rich habitats for pollinators. To counteract these negative effects of modern agricultural practices, efforts to maintain and restore diverse plants in agricultural landscapes — called agri-environmental schemes — have been implemented in numerous European countries: here.

Bee at its nest video

This 25 august 2017 video is about a Megachile versicolor bee at its nest.

Henk Brem from the Netherlands made this video.

Bee on cornflower

This 18 July 2017 video shows a bee on a cornflower, in the Heemtuin garden in Hengelo in Overijssel province in the Netherlands.

Monique Loman made this video.