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World Bee Day

 

Honeybees make a cute 'whoop' when they're surprised
Honeybees make a cute 'whoop' when they're surprised And I thought the squeaks of a baby sloth were cute ? Well, they are ... but they've got some tough competition from a very surprising source: Whooping honeybees.
So it isn't new news that honeybees make a vibrational pulse to communicate. Sam Wong writes in New Scientist that while scientists have known about this signaling since the 1950s, they first speculated that it indicated a request for food. "Later, it was shown that the signal was produced when one bee tried to inhibit another from performing a waggle dance," Wong writes, "a behaviour that tells other bees where to forage." It was later interpreted as a warning signal.

 

Agrichemical Political Power in America and Europe
Agrichemical Political Power in America and Europe In November 2014, an open letter signed by about 57 million Americans reached European politicians urging them not to follow America’s genetic engineering path in food and agriculture. Don’t use genetic engineering to modify your crops, the letter said, because GM crops have served us pretty badly here in America. We are convinced the genetic modification of crops is a hazardous and failing technology.

 

Honeybees are struggling to get enough good bacteria
Honeybees are struggling to get enough good bacteria Modern monoculture farming, commercial forestry and even well-intentioned gardeners could be making it harder for honeybees to store food and fight off diseases, a new study suggests.
Human changes to the landscape, such as large areas of monoculture grassland for livestock grazing, and coniferous forests for timber production, is affecting the diversity of the 'microbiome' associated with honeybees' long-term food supply
Ecology and Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3999

 

EU unanimously backs UN World Bee Day
EU unanimously backs UN World Bee Day The United Nations declared 20 May to become World Bee Day, adopting a resolution proposed by Slovenia and supported by all EU member states, which aims to raise awareness of the insects’ importance and warn about their dwindling numbers.
The resolution’s 155 co-sponsors, which include the EU, the US, China and Russia, agreed to observe World Bee Day “through education and activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators, the threats that they face and their contribution to sustainable development”.

 

Newly identified bacteria may help bees nourish their young
Newly identified bacteria may help bees nourish their young A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside have isolated three previously unknown bacterial species from wild bees and flowers. The bacteria, which belong to the genus Lactobacillus, may play a role in preserving the nectar and pollen that female bees store in their nests as food for their larvae.
The results were published Thursday in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The study was led by Quinn McFrederick, an assistant professor of entomology in UCR's College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences.

 

The National Bee Unit confirms Asian hornet in the Bury area of Lancashire
The National Bee Unit confirms Asian hornet in the Bury area of Lancashire The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Bury area of Lancashire. It was spotted by a member of the public in an item of food, which has since been traced back to Boston.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and work is already underway to identify any nests, which includes setting up a surveillance zone and traps in the two identified locations and deploying bee inspectors to visit local beekeepers.

 

Young Hive-Bound Bees Befuddled by Common Chemicals
Young Hive-Bound Bees Befuddled by Common Chemicals Hive-bound young honey bees (Apis mellifera) are being poisoned by insecticide and weed killer gathered by their foraging hive mates, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The chemicals cause brain damage in young worker bees, affecting both their ability to taste and to learn, placing the future of the colony at risk.

 

When enemies come to help
When enemies come to help Crab spiders are predators that lie in wait for their prey on the flowers. It used to be assumed that these spiders harm the plant, because they catch pollinating insects or discourage them from visiting the flowers. The ecologists at UZH have now been able to reveal a surprising phenomenon: "Crab spiders find the plant by following the scent of its flowers. They do so using β-ocimene, the floral volatile that also attracts bees,"

 

The trouble with beekeeping gloves
The trouble with beekeeping gloves Many experienced beekeepers go without gloves and for good reason— they are cumbersome! These beekeepers trade comfort and dexterity for the occasional sting. But, if you are a new beekeeper or in an Africanized Honey Bee zone, you are probably in for more than just an occasional sting. Personally, I rarely work without gloves. So, if you are going to wear gloves, what kind of gloves are best ?

 

How Bees See And Why It Matters
How Bees See And Why It Matters The remarkable eyesight of bees has long been a source of fascination in the scientific community. A hundred years ago, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Karl von Frisch proved that bees can see color. The color we see is based upon how a pigment absorbs and reflects light. When light hits an object, some is absorbed and some is reflected. Our eyes perceive the reflected portion as color. The brilliant color in flowers is a way of attracting pollinators, such as bees. The colors of flowers help target the areas of nectar. That’s the reason why petals are usually a different color than leaves.

 

Lizards, mice, bats and other vertebrates are important pollinators, too
Lizards, mice, bats and other vertebrates are important pollinators, too Bees are not the only animals that carry pollen from flower to flower. Species with backbones, among them bats, birds, mice, and even lizards, also serve as pollinators. Although less familiar as flower visitors than insect pollinators, vertebrate pollinators are more likely to have co-evolved tight relationships of high value to the plants they service, supplying essential reproductive aid for which few or no other species may substitute.
In plants known to receive flower visitations from vertebrates, fruit and seed production drops 63%, on average, when the larger animals, but not insects, are experimentally blocked from accessing the plants, ecologists report in the March cover study for the Ecological Society of America's journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

 

Pesticides give bees a hard time
Pesticides give bees a hard time Scientists from the University of Würzburg have investigated the impact of a new pesticide on the honeybee. In high doses, it has a negative impact on the insects' taste and cognition ability.
In February 2018, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that the pesticide group of neonicotinoids is harmful to bees. A novel pesticide manufactured by Bayer AG is therefore being discussed as an alternative; it contains flupyradifurone from the class of butenolides. The product goes by the brand name of Sivanto.

 

Campaigners accuse farming lobby of misleading public over pesticides
Campaigners accuse farming lobby of misleading public over pesticides Pesticide use in the UK is rising, according to an analysis of government data - and contrary to the claims of pro-pesticide lobby groups such as the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Crop Protection Association (CPA).
These organisations frequently claim that the amount of pesticides used in the UK has halved since 1990 when defending pesticide use, Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) has claimed.
But the statistic is meaningless, since it refers to the weight of the pesticides used and ignores the strength of toxicity, which is significantly higher than that used in the 1990s.

 

Another Voice: An insecticide threatens the next silent spring
Another Voice: An insecticide threatens the next silent spring A groundbreaking new study exposes a huge threat to the Great Lakes. Neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) have been found year-round in major tributaries to the Great Lakes. Of great concern in New York is the Genesee River.
Neonics came on the market with great expectation that it caused less toxicity than previously used classes of insecticides. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side.
Neonics have already been been linked with bee die-offs and bird population decline. Why should we care? Losing these pollinators can have a tremendous impact on our food supply. Birds are natural predators of insects carrying disease. The entire ecosystem may be at risk.

 

Death And Thievery In The Colony
Death And Thievery In The Colony The tiny bee flits about, just above the ground. Clothed in a tightly pressed suit of gray hairs, it is scarcely visible—a ghost bee. Of course, given that the bee is maybe half the size of an uncooked piece of rice, it could be bright red and still go unnoticed. The little bee may rest in the heat of the afternoon, head down on the shady side of a stem. At some point, if the bee is female, she stops flitting, having found what she’s been looking for. She dives into the hole of another minuscule bee, one of the large genus Perdita. The goal of the ghost bee is theft and ultimately death. Her plan is to hide her egg in the cell of the host bee. Her offspring will hatch, kill the host bee’s young, and consume all the provisions laid down by the hard-working host mother. North America may have a dozen or more species of Neolarra. All are cleptoparasites, those who thieve and kill rather than gather and provision.

 

Insects Flew Before Anything Else Did. So How Did They Get Their Wings ?
Insects Flew Before Anything Else Did. So How Did They Get Their Wings ? In research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Tomoyasu and co-author David Linz genetically engineered beetle larvae with wings on their abdomens, part of an ongoing attempt to unpack one of evolution’s greatest mysteries: how insects gained the ability to fly.
Insects took to the empty skies sometime between 300 and 360 million years ago, long before birds, bats or pterosaurs. Wings allowed them to conquer new habitats and ecological niches, and Insecta quickly established themselves as one of the most diverse and successful animal classes, a position they still hold today

 

Blissfully unaware
Blissfully unaware Several naturalists and environmental writers believe the massive loss of insects has everything to do with three generations of industrialized farming and the vast tide of poisons pouring over the landscape year-after-year, especially since the end of WWII. Ours is the first-ever pesticide-based agricultural society. Dreadfully, it’s an experiment that is going dead wrong… all of a sudden !

 

Britain has lost half its wildlife. Now’s the time to shout about it
Britain has lost half its wildlife. Now’s the time to shout about it Most notable is the case of farmland birds, which by the government’s own admission declined by 56% between 1970 and 2015; it is estimated this represents a loss of at least 44 million individuals. Over huge swaths of the land, once beloved species such as the lapwing, the spotted flycatcher, the cuckoo and the turtle dove, as well as many once common butterflies such as the pearl-bordered fritillary and once familiar blooms such as cornflowers, have simply vanished. The fields may still look green in spring, but it is mostly lifeless scenery, apart from the pesticide-saturated crops: it is green concrete.

 


Nicotine Bees, the film, gets to the truth about why the honey bees of the world are in big trouble, and why our food supply is in trouble with them.
We think the answers are clear - and have been for several years - Systemic Neonicotinoid Insecticide
We filmed on 3 continents to find out the real reasons why bees are in catastrophic decline - and why many people don't want the real story to be told.
Although the bees have been in a slow decline for years, something else happened between 2005 and 2006 that changed everything: a sharp and catastrophic collapse of bee colonies in dozens of countries simultaneously.

 

Europe Is Facing An Ecological Disaster As Wildlife Numbers Plummet
Europe Is Facing An Ecological Disaster As Wildlife Numbers Plummet The natural environment in Europe is on the brink of collapse.
Two new studies published this week show how the number of farm birds in France has crashed, falling by an average of a third in the last 15 years alone, prompting scientists to warn that biodiversity in Europe faces “oblivion”.

 

Woman dies after having bee-sting therapy
Woman dies after having bee-sting therapy A woman has died after undergoing bee-sting therapy, a form of treatment backed by Gwyneth Paltrow.
The 55-year-old Spanish woman had been having live bee acupuncture for two years when she developed a severe reaction.
She died weeks later of multiple organ failure.
Researchers who studied the case say live bee acupuncture therapy is "unsafe and unadvisable".

 

'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides
'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said.
Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies.

 

Honey buzzard don't care: Raptor raids beehives and deals with consequences
Honey buzzard don't care: Raptor raids beehives and deals with consequences It takes a brave creature to target the nest of stinging insects for a meal. The honey buzzard is just such a steely-eyed animal.
This fairly large raptor will sit on a perch waiting for a stinger-equipped insect to fly by. That's the signal for meal time. It will follow the insect back to the nest where it can start the feast.
Though it's called the honey buzzard, this bird isn't just after the sweet treat of honeycomb. It also dines on the larvae of hornets and wasps. It uses its long talons to dig out the goods, and scale-like feathers protect its head from stings.

 

Design the Man City bee!
Design the Man City bee! Manchester City has proudly thrown its weight behind the upcoming Bee in the City campaign in support of the We Love MCR Charity.
As part of the campaign, the Club is asking Cityzens to submit their designs for what the Official Manchester City bee should look like.
A giant colony of super-sized bee sculptures will be winging its way to Manchester this summer for one of the biggest public art exhibitions the city has ever seen.

 

Welsh farmer develops 'sting-proof' suit for beekeepers
Welsh farmer develops 'sting-proof' suit for beekeepers A Welsh farmer and beekeeper is to launch a bee suit for honey producers that he claims is “virtually sting proof”.
Ian Roberts was spurred into action when a beekeeper friend developed a life-threatening allergic reaction after being stung.
He hopes his Sentinel Pro 3D Bee Suit will end the “nervousness” that many beekeepers get even when fully kitted up.

 

Are robotic bees the future ?
Are robotic bees the future ? There have been a number of scientific papers published in recent years discussing the possibility of building miniature flying robots to replace bees and pollinate crops. Clumsy prototypes have been tested, and seem to crudely work. If crops could be pollinated this way, farmers wouldn’t have to worry about harming bees with their insecticides. With wild bee populations in decline, perhaps these tiny robots are the answer ?

 

Walmart has filed a patent for a robot bee
Walmart has filed a patent for a robot bee
  • Walmart has filed a patent for a robot bee that could potentially pollinate crops like real bees.
  • The patent could signal that Walmart is looking to have more control over its food supply chain.
  • Other organizations are also developing pollination drones to help offset the decline of bee populations.

 

Bees: How royal jelly prevents royal offspring from falling out of their cells
Bees: How royal jelly prevents royal offspring from falling out of their cells Defying gravity: A special mixture of proteins in the larval food of bees ensures that future queen larvae survive. Surprisingly this has less to do with nourishment than with gravity. The special properties of the proteins prevent the large and heavy larvae from falling out of their cells. Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have discovered how this is accomplished at a molecular level. Their study will appear in the internationally renowned journal Current Biology.

 

Honey hunters climb high to gather precious tualang honey in the rainforests of Malaysia
Honey hunters climb high to gather precious tualang honey in the rainforests of Malaysia On a moonless night deep in the Malaysian rainforest, two men perched precariously on high branches use a smoking torch to draw thousands of bees from a treetop hive, braving the angry swarm to collect their prized honey.
The honey hunters, as they are known, are rag-tag groups of villagers who head to remote corners of the jungle every year in search of the rare nectar, hidden in towering tualang trees.
“This is the real thing,” said Abdul Samad Ahmad, 60, who has been harvesting honey in this way for more than 20 years.

 

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