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Half a billion hoverflies migrate to the United Kingdom each year. The benefits to farmers are huge
Half a billion hoverflies migrate to the United Kingdom each year. The benefits to farmers are huge Each year, hundreds of millions of hoverflies cross the English Channel from continental Europe, according to a new radar-based study. Most migratory insects around the world are pests, such as locusts, but luckily for U.K. farmers, the hoverflies are friends.
The benefits to farmers are huge. Combined, the populations of the two most common species of hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus and Eupeodes corollae, transport about the same amount of pollen as do all the honey bees in the United Kingdom, Chapman and colleagues report today in Current Biology.
Perhaps more importantly, the larvae of hoverflies eat about 20% of the aphids in an average wheat field - a total of 6 trillion aphids, the researchers estimate. “The numbers really blew my mind,” Chapman says.

 

EFSA’s 2013 Bee Guidance in the UK
We are writing to you on behalf of 226,845 petition signatories as well as members of the above organisations to ask you to support the complete implementation of the European Food Safety Authority’s bee guidance for the assessment of risks posed to honeybees and wild bees from pesticides.
226,845 members of the public have signed a petition calling on you and other European ministers to support higher standards for assessing how pesticides harm bees. You can view the petition here: https://www.sumofus.org/bee-guidance

 

Beewolves use a gas to preserve food
Beewolves use a gas to preserve food Scientists from the Universities of Regensburg and Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology discovered that the eggs of the European beewolf produce nitric oxide. The gas prevents the larvae's food from getting moldy in the warm and humid brood cells.
Food stored in warm and humid conditions gets moldy very quickly and thus becomes inedible or even toxic. To prevent this, we use refrigerators and freezers as well as various other methods of preservation. Animals do not have such technical appliances and therefore need to find other ways to preserve food. The European beewolf Philanthus triangulum, a solitary wasp species whose females hunt honey bees, has evolved a successful method of food preservation. A female takes up to five honey bees into its brood cells where they serve as food for a young beewolf.
The results were published in the journal eLife

 

American Foulbrood found in Perthshire honeybees
American Foulbrood found in Perthshire honeybees AN OUTBREAK of American Foulbrood (AFB) has been found in an apiary near Blairgowrie in Perthshire.
AFB is a notifiable disease that affects colonies of honeybees. The infected hive will be destroyed as there is no permitted treatment for the disease in the UK.
The disease was confirmed following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture. Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer,Sheila Voas, said: “The confirmation that AFB has been found in a colony of honeybees in Perthshire is disappointing and a timely reminder that beekeepers should remain vigilant for signs of the disease at all times.

 

Honey Hunting on the Cliffs of China’s Yunnan Province
Honey Hunting on the Cliffs of China’s Yunnan Province The “cliff honey” is coveted in China, and can sell for up to US$50 per kilogram. “Honey hunters face swarms of bees and get stung repeatedly while suspended from rope ladders. Lower hives can often be reached with wooden ladders or poles. Hunters suit up in protective gear and use smoke to scatter the giant Himalayan honeybees from their hives to reduce the risk of confrontation, but there are literally thousands of them in each hive. An adult Himalayan honeybee, the world’s largest honeybee species, can measure three centimeters in size.”

 

Bees the victims of irresponsible pesticide use
Bees the victims of irresponsible pesticide use Over the past decade, honeybee populations in many countries in the Northern Hemisphere have plummeted due to colony collapse disorder (CCD).
The debate about the causes of CCD is ongoing: climate change, pesticides, food scarcity, monoculture crops, Varroa mites, strains of foul brood and loss of habitat, amongst others, have all been blamed.
However, these are only some of the potential threats that bees face, and no undisputed single reason for the decline in bee populations in the Northern Hemisphere has yet been identified.

 

Honey bee colonies down by 16%
Honey bee colonies down by 16% The study, led by a University of Strathclyde academic, found that out of 544,879 colonies being managed at the start of winter, 89,124 were lost through a combination of circumstances including the effects of weather conditions, unsolvable problems with a colony's queen and natural disaster.
The study surveyed 25,363 beekeepers across 33 countries in Europe - including the four nations of the UK - along with Algeria, Israel and Mexico.
Portugal, Italy and England experienced losses above 25%, as well as Northern Ireland, where losses were 29.9%. Belarus, Israel and Serbia were among those with loss rates below 10%.

 

Science institute that advised EU and UN 'actually industry lobby group'
Science institute that advised EU and UN 'actually industry lobby group' An institute whose experts have occupied key positions on EU and UN regulatory panels is, in reality, an industry lobby group that masquerades as a scientific health charity, according to a peer-reviewed study.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Bocconi University in Milan, and the US Right to Know campaign assessed over 17,000 pages of documents under US freedom of information laws to present evidence of influence-peddling.

 

A devastating bee disease outbreak has been confirmed in West Lothian
A devastating bee disease outbreak has been confirmed in West Lothian An outbreak of European Foulbrood (EFB) has been found in a colony of honey bees in an apiary in West Lothian .
The disease spreads between hives, mainly by beekeepers, their tools and contaminated equipment. The spores that cause the bacterial disease are very resistant to extremes of hot and cold and to many disinfectants so the spread can only be prevented by good hygiene and beekeeping.

 

A combination of agrochemicals shortens the life of bees
A combination of agrochemicals shortens the life of bees A new study by Brazilian biologists suggests that the effect of pesticides on bees could be worse than previously thought. Even when used at a level considered nonlethal, an insecticide curtailed the lives of bees by up to 50%. The researchers also found that a fungicide deemed safe for bees altered the behavior of workers and made them lethargic, potentially jeopardizing the survival of the entire colony.

 

Seedless Watermelons Are A Different Challenge When Pollinating
Seedless Watermelons Are A Different Challenge When Pollinating A female watermelon flower will need around 500-1000 pollen grains to be fertilized effectively. This will require a minimum of 8 visits by a honey bee for seeded watermelons. In seedless watermelon more visits will be required. The pollen produced by seedless watermelons is not viable. To fertilize seedless watermelon, pollen must be transferred from viable male flowers in standard or special pollinizer seeded types to triploid seedless female flowers.

 

Giant bee thought to be EXTINCT makes miraculous comeback
Giant bee thought to be EXTINCT makes miraculous comeback A large bee not seen in Poland for 70 years has made an incredible comeback after ecologists turned to the internet for help in finding the insects.
The Violet Carpenter Bee, otherwise known as a Black Bee because of the distinctive dark violet, almost black colour of its wings and body, was declared officially extinct in 2002.

 

Pollinators in Peril - Climate Change Threat to UK Bees
Pollinators in Peril - Climate Change Threat to UK Bees New Report on World Bee Day Paints Bleak Picture of Extinction and Decline
The 'Bees Under Siege' report analysed data recorded for 228 species of bees and concluded that:
  • 17 species are extinct from the area
  • 25 species are threatened
  • Another 31 are of conservation concern
Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive at Buglife, said:
“Our bees and other pollinators have suffered badly over the last fifty or so years, due to habitat fragmentation, climate change, and intensive farming methods, especially pesticides. Imagine living on a tiny oasis in an increasingly fiery desert with barely any food, water or shelter - that is what much of the modern British countryside is like for our wild pollinators.

 

Scientists: Why we should appreciate wasps
Scientists: Why we should appreciate wasps The researchers say wasps are a much maligned insect, which deserve more attention.
Rather than being "bothersome and pointless", they are in fact beneficial insects, keeping other pests in check.
Dr Seirian Sumner of University College London said wasps are nature's pest controllers and a world without wasps would mean that we would have to use a lot more pesticides to control the other insects that we dislike and find annoying.

 

World Bee Day

The value of bees
Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.
Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity - a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also serve as sentinels for emergent environmental risks, signaling the health of local ecosystems.
Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices may reduce available nutrients and pose threats to bee colonies.
To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day

 

The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves
The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves These crucial pollinators keep our world alive. Yes, they are under threat – but all is not lost.
When I see a bee buzzing around my garden or in the park in early spring, I get a real thrill from being able to identify her. If she is black and darting among small, white tubular flowers with her long tongue protruding and her legs tucked under her furry, round body, I know she is a hairy-footed flower bee.

 

Beeswax Filling Found in 6,500-Year-Old Human Tooth
Beeswax Filling Found in 6,500-Year-Old Human Tooth Evidence that stone-age dentists were at work nearly seven millennia ago was discovered in Eastern Europe.
A team of mostly Italian researchers studied a human jawbone, found in Slovenia near the Italian border, that contains a cracked canine tooth with a beeswax filling inside.
“This finding is perhaps the most ancient evidence of pre-historic dentistry in Europe and the earliest known direct example of therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far,” said research leader Federico Bernardini at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in a press release.

 

'Bee corridor' planted in London to boost insect numbers
'Bee corridor' planted in London to boost insect numbers A seven-mile long "bee corridor" is being planted in a bid to boost the number of pollinating insects.
The wildflower meadows will be put in place in 22 of Brent Council's parks in north London.
A recent study blamed the decline of wildflowers as a factor behind the drop in pollinating insect numbers in the UK since the 1980s.

 

Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’
Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ Most comprehensive assessment of its kind; 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction.
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.

 

Managing road verges for pollinators
Managing road verges for pollinators Road verges are a common sight across the UK landscape, with 238,000 ha of road verges along our almost 400,000 kilometres of roads. These habitats can support a wide range of wildlife, in particular providing sources of food and shelter for insect species. This report reviews the scientific literature on the benefits road verges can provide to pollinators, as well as the costs caused by their proximity to roads and road traffic

 

Bees Exposed to Neonicotinoid Pesticide Become Hyperactive Before Crashing Out, Reducing Their Ability to Forage
Bees Exposed to Neonicotinoid Pesticide Become Hyperactive Before Crashing Out, Reducing Their Ability to Forage The use of neonicotinoids—a common class of pesticides—has increasingly been linked to negative effects on bees by a number of scientific studies in recent times.
Now, a team of researchers from Imperial College London has found that bees which are exposed to neonicotinoids—or “neonics” for short—are only capable of flying a third of the distance that unexposed bees could manage, according to a study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

 

Premium New Zealand honey producer admits adding chemicals: media
Premium New Zealand honey producer admits adding chemicals: media MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A New Zealand company pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of adding artificial chemicals to its premium manuka honey, media reported, in a flagship prosecution over a product that is high-value export for the country.
New Zealand Food Safety filed the case against Auckland-based Evergreen Life Ltd whose products were pulled from shelves in 2016 by the Ministry for Primary Industries, which said they might contain “non-approved substances”.

 

RSPB resigns from government’s pesticides forum after chemical use soars
RSPB resigns from government’s pesticides forum after chemical use soars The RSPB and dozens of environmental groups have resigned from the government’s pesticides forum after two decades claiming the use of dangerous chemicals is now far worse than when they joined.
The charity alongside Wildlife and Countryside Link which represents bodies like The Wildlife Trusts and Butterfly Conservation have written to Michael Gove, the environment secretary, warning they can ‘no longer stand by’ while the situation deteriorates.
Two groups, the Pesticides Forum and Voluntary Initiative, were set up by the government in the 1990s to reduce environmental damage from pesticides.
However figures show that since their founding the area of British land treated by pesticides has risen from 45 million hectares to more than 70 million hectares today.

 

Bees living on Notre-Dame cathedral roof survive blaze
Notre-Dame's smallest residents have survived the devastating fire which destroyed most of the cathedral's roof and toppled its famous spire.
Some 200,000 bees living in hives on the roof were initially thought to have perished in the blaze.
However Nicolas Géant, the cathedral's beekeeper, has confirmed that the bees are alive and buzzing.

 

An organic lawn
An organic lawn It’s all too tempting to think of your lawn as a plain green area. Think instead of a wonderful, natural carpet, composed of thousands of separate plants, with colour, texture and wildlife. The organic lawn can feed birds, insects and soil life, as well as hosting flowers. And you can still sit or play on it – and mow it – without using unnecessary and expensive chemicals.

 

Propolis Power-Up: How Beekeepers Can Encourage Resin Deposits for Better Hive Health
Propolis Power-Up: How Beekeepers Can Encourage Resin Deposits for Better Hive Health Propolis is a pliable, resinous mixture that honey bees (Apis mellifera) create by mixing a variety of plant resins, saliva, and beeswax and which they apply to interior surfaces of their hives, namely at points of comb attachment and to seal up cracks and crevices on the interior side of hive walls. Greater propolis production is connected with improved hive health, and a new study finds a few simple methods beekeepers can employ to stimulate increased propolis production.

 

Cuba's worker bees boost thriving honey business
Cuba's worker bees boost thriving honey business In the floral valleys of Cuba's Matanzas province, old fashioned farming means bees can swarm without the threat of pesticides that have decimated populations across the world.
Shrinking bee populations around the world have caused scientists and conservationists to sound the alarm over the effects of intensive agriculture, disease and pesticides.
But not in Cuba, a Communist-run island nation that has become a kind of apicultural paradise, thanks to the purity of its countryside.

 

New ‘safe’ pesticides to replace banned chemicals still hurt bees, scientists say
New ‘safe’ pesticides to replace banned chemicals still hurt bees, scientists say New pesticides regarded as “bee safe” could actually be causing harm to these vital pollinators when combined with other chemicals being applied to crops, according to a new study.
However, experts have voiced concerns that some of these pesticides may come with dangerous side effects of their own.
While flupyradifurone has been marketed as a safer insecticide, it has the same mode of action and properties as neonicotinoids, the chemicals banned due to their link with global bee declines.

 

Taiwan doctor finds four sweat bees living inside woman's eye
Taiwan doctor finds four sweat bees living inside woman's eye A Taiwanese woman was found by doctors to have four small sweat bees living inside her eye, the first such incident on the island.
The 28-year-old woman, identified only as Ms He, was pulling out weeds when the insects flew into her eyes.
Dr Hong Chi Ting of the Fooyin University Hospital told the BBC he was "shocked" when he pulled the 4mm insects out by their legs

 

Pesticides and antibiotics polluting streams across Europe
Pesticides and antibiotics polluting streams across Europe Pesticides and antibiotics are polluting streams across Europe, a study has found. Scientists say the contamination is dangerous for wildlife and may increase the development of drug-resistant microbes.
More than 100 pesticides and 21 drugs were detected in the 29 waterways analysed in 10 European nations, including the UK. A quarter of the chemicals identified are banned, while half of the streams analysed had at least one pesticide above permitted levels.

 

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