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New laboratory system allows researchers to probe the secret lives of queen bees
New laboratory system allows researchers to probe the secret lives of queen bees A group of researchers has established a laboratory-based method for tracking the fertility of honey bee queens, using a laboratory set-up that would mimic the key aspects of the hive environment and allow detection of egg-laying by honey bee queens living with small groups of worker bees. The resulting system allowed them to explore the relationship between worker nutrition and queen fertility.

 

Rebel honeybee workers lay eggs when their queen is away
Rebel honeybee workers lay eggs when their queen is away The rebel workers are also more likely to infiltrate other colonies to have offspring
Even honeybee queens have rebellious kids.
In a colony of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), only the queen lays eggs that hatch into female workers who maintain the hive and nurse the young. But at times a colony experiences periods of queenlessness, when the old queen has left and a new one isn’t ready. Some of the queen’s left-behind worker daughters seize this chance to lay their own eggs — and sometimes in an entirely new colony, finds a study published online October 31 in Ecology and Evolution.

 

Study suggests fipronil caused massive honeybee die-off in France
Study suggests fipronil caused massive honeybee die-off in France A team of researchers from the University of Exeter and Fera Science Ltd, both in the U.K. has found evidence that implicates the insecticide fipronil as the culprit behind a massive die-off of honeybees in France in the 1990s. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of two insecticides that were thought to be behind the die-offs and what they found.

 

How do flying bees make perfect turns ?
How do flying bees make perfect turns ? If you've ever lost your balance standing on a bus that takes a sharp turn at speed or felt your car skid when you drive around a corner too fast, you've experienced the effects of centrifugal force. Turning while simultaneously moving forwards creates a force that pulls the turning object away from the direction of the turn. The faster you're going and the sharper the turn, the more centrifugal force you experience, and the more likely you are to lose control. - Study can bee found here.

 

Ancient drink of mead revived by new fanbase of younger drinkers
Ancient drink of mead revived by new fanbase of younger drinkers Mead, one of the world’s oldest alcoholic drinks, has been making a comeback on the back of the boom in craft beer.
Sales of the honey-based drink have grown in supermarkets after winning a strong fan base among younger drinkers in pubs and at beer festivals
The conservation charity English Heritage claims to be the UK’s largest retailer of mead through the gift shops in its 400 historic buildings and monuments as well as online; it said it sold a bottle every 10 minutes.

 

Faking It – The Great Honey Robbery
Faking It – The Great Honey Robbery We found that 52 percent of Asian honey samples tested were adulterated (11 of 21 samples), of which three were from China (3/7), one from South Korea (1/1), one from India (1/2), two from Indonesia (2/2) and four from Iran (4/4),” the study said in its discussion section.
“Six honey samples from Europe, from a total of 21 tested, contained added sugar. These honeys originated from Macedonia (2/3), Romania (1/2), Serbia (1/1), Greece (1/5) and Hungary (1/3). Australia has a lower adulteration rate (18.4 percent in total), with honey from its mainland having an adulteration rate of 17.2 percent (5/29) compared to 22.2 percent of samples from Tasmania (2/9). Both New Zealand manuka honey samples tested (2/2) weren’t adulterated.”

 

Why are Certain NGOs Trying to Condemn Rural Residents to an Even Longer Pesticide Fate ?
Why are Certain NGOs Trying to Condemn Rural Residents to an Even Longer Pesticide Fate ? Synthetic chemical pesticides were originally developed as chemical warfare agents in the 1930s and 1940s, but then astonishingly remanufactured as agricultural pesticides. These highly toxic chemicals have been used in UK farming for around 75 years and are increasingly relied upon by conventional (ie. non-organic) farmers and growers.

 

Some honeybees have four parents or no mother – and we don’t know why
Some honeybees have four parents or no mother – and we don’t know why We’ve still got plenty to learn about “the birds and the bees”. A close looker has revealed that some honeybees born partly male and partly female have up to four parents – and some of them have no mother at all.
In bees, unfertilised eggs develop into males, or drones, who seek out queens to mate with. Fertilised eggs usually develop into female workers.
Journal reference: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0670

 

FDA Warns of Honey Pacifiers after Infant Botulism Cases
FDA Warns of Honey Pacifiers after Infant Botulism Cases Four infants were hospitalized with botulism after using pacifiers containing honey.
Reminder to parents: Don’t feed babies honey.
The FDA just issued a safety alert reminding parents not to feed children younger than 1 honey, including in pacifiers.

 

‘Bee-lief’ in wildflowers’ value to courgette pollination
‘Bee-lief’ in wildflowers’ value to courgette pollination A pioneering new study has revealed the value of pollination services to courgettes, finding that wildflower field margins can improve bee species’ work, while aiding their conservation.
The study, an AHDB-funded PhD by Dr Jessica Knapp of the University of Exeter, discovered that with pollinator insects like honeybees and buff-tailed bumblebees present, crop yields were 39% higher than when they were excluded.

 

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
The Insect Apocalypse Is Here Sune Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing.
It was summer. He was out in the country, moving fast. But strangely, he wasn’t eating any bugs.

 

Ask your council to put pollinators first
Ask your council to put pollinators first Wouldn't it be fantastic if your neighbourhood was full of flourishing green spaces, for both you and bees to enjoy? We rely on bees and other pollinating insects for so many plants and crops. But too often we forget they need somewhere to live.
We’ve successfully influenced some councils to put pollinators first and adopt local Pollinator Action Plans

 

50,000 honey bees killed as yobs set hives ablaze
50,000 honey bees killed as yobs set hives ablaze Vandals wiped out 50,000 honey bees at an allotment by setting tyres alight under their hives.
The arsonists targeted five hives full of bees in the attack at the gardens. One hive was not burned but it is thought the bees were killed by the heavy smoke given off by the tyres.
The attack early on Wednesday is the third at the Harpers Lane allotments in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

 

Call for Research Proposals Related to Honey Bee Health
Call for Research Proposals Related to Honey Bee Health The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is seeking proposals for research related to improving the health of honey bees. Proposals should focus on research to understand, manage, suppress and eradicate Varroa mites, small hive beetles, and other pests, pathogens, and diseases contributing to colony losses. Summaries of previously funded projects can be found at http://pollinator.org/honeybee_health.htm. Review and selection of proposals will be conducted by members of the Honey Bee Health Task Force.

 

Scientists warned this weed killer would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway
Scientists warned this weed killer would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway Joyce leans against the greenhouse he’s building, hands in the pockets of his overalls, peering at the field where he started nearly 800 tomato plants in the spring. It was early August when the telltale signs of trouble emerged. The plants’ broad, flat leaves shriveled and curled, their branches twisted and buckled. Then blossom rot set in. Joyce knew they couldn’t be saved. He climbed onto his tractor and mowed down his bestselling crop – for the third year in a row.

 

Neonicotinoid insecticide causes bees to abandon their young at night
Neonicotinoid insecticide causes bees to abandon their young at night A study published in the journal Science found bees exposed to an insecticide called imidacloprid were less likely to feed and care for their larvae, and spent more time hanging out around the edges of the nest.
According to study lead author and Harvard University biologist James Crall, the most surprising and puzzling finding was that the effect on bee behaviour was strongest at night

 

Organic GMOs – ask yourself, can this ever be a ‘thing’ ?
Organic GMOs – ask yourself, can this ever be a ‘thing’ ? If an organic crop is pollinated by genetically modified bees is it still organic?
And what about the honey those bees might make? Is that organic too?

 

Insect populations are declining around the world. How worried should we be ?
Insect populations are declining around the world. How worried should we be? Widely reported studies this year and last led to headlines globally of an “insect Armageddon.” The real story is more nuanced — but probably just as unsettling.
When Susan Weller traveled to Ecuador to study tiger moths in the 1980s, she found plenty of insects. A decade later, Weller, now director of the University of Nebraska State Museum, returned to conduct follow-up research. But the moths she was looking for were gone.

 

Panhandle Beekeepers Assess Hurricane Damage. You Can Help !
Panhandle Beekeepers Assess Hurricane Damage. You Can Help! Beekeepers in the central panhandle are working to salvage their hives and rebuild their colonies after the destruction of Hurricane Michael. The storm took down buildings and shattered lives and livelihoods across the central panhandle. It also destroyed a massive amount of beehives in the region.
“There are somewhere in the neighborhood of about 500 beekeepers, representing about 50,000 bee colonies in the area. And that ranges from beekeepers who are hobbyists, maybe keeping one or two colonies, to beekeepers who are commercial beekeepers keeping many thousands of colonies."

 

Climate change is 'escalator to extinction' for mountain birds
Climate change is 'escalator to extinction' for mountain birds Scientists have produced new evidence that climate change is driving tropical bird species who live near a mountain top to extinction.
Researchers have long predicted many creatures will seek to escape a warmer world by moving towards higher ground.
However, those living at the highest levels cannot go any higher, and have been forecast to decline .... [Please note: This same scenario also applies to Bumble Bees]

 

Written Evidence submitted by Georgina Downs of the UK Pesticides Campaign (AB26) - Agriculture Bill Committee
Agriculture Bill Committee Synthetic chemical pesticides were originally developed as chemical warfare agents in the 1930s and 1940s, but then remanufactured as agricultural pesticides. These highly toxic chemicals have been used in UK farming for around 75 years and are increasingly relied upon by conventional (ie. non-organic) farmers and growers.

 

‘Illegal’ attempt to weaken EU pesticides rules backed by UK could increase cancer risk, lawyers warn
‘Illegal’ attempt to weaken EU pesticides rules backed by UK could increase cancer risk, lawyers warn The UK government is trying to water down rules that block pesticides linked to a string of health defects from being sprayed on fields across Europe, according to environmentalists.
Exposure to these chemicals, which crops carry onto supermarket shelves, can increase the risk of cancer, nervous system disorders and developmental issues.
Despite these hazards, a handful of states with the UK at the helm has pushed the European Commission into a bid to weaken EU rules – a move that lawyers warn is illegal.

 

‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss
‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.

 

Study captures drumming of the honeybee ‘wake-up call’
Study captures drumming of the honeybee ‘wake-up call’ Scientists have recorded the honeycomb vibration of the honeybee ‘wake-up call’ for the first time – when the insects drum on the comb to prompt others bees in the hive to start getting busy.
The Nottingham Trent University team used simultaneous video and accelerometers embedded into the honeycomb of hives to monitor a very specific vibrational signal generated by the honeybees.
The ‘Dorso-Ventral Abdominal Vibration’ involves individual bees shaking or jerking to drum a vibration onto the comb or another bee, which then signals to others to start foraging for food or become more active.

 

One in five Australian honey samples adulterated
One in five Australian honey samples adulterated Following the recent high-profile fake honey scandal, new and independent research from Macquarie University in collaboration with the National Measurement Institute has unveiled, for the first time, the scale of the adulteration problem—almost one in five Australian honey samples were found to be adulterated with cheaper sugar products such as corn syrup or sugar cane

 

Asian hornet spotted in Dungeness - first sighting in Kent
Asian hornet spotted in Dungeness - first sighting in Kent An Asian hornet sighting has been confirmed in Kent, prompting an investigation into the whereabouts of the predatory insects’ nests.
Nicola Spence, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) chief plant health officer urged people to report potential sightings.
She said: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

 

Invasion of the ‘frankenbees’: the danger of building a better bee
Invasion of the ‘frankenbees’: the danger of building a better bee The spring of 2008 was brutal for Europe’s honeybees. In late April and early May, during the corn-planting season, dismayed beekeepers in Germany’s upper Rhine valley looked on as whole colonies perished. Millions of bees died. France, the Netherlands and Italy reported big losses, but in Germany the incident took on the urgency of a national crisis. “It was a disaster,” recalled Walter Haefeker, German president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association. “The government had to set up containers along the autobahn where beekeepers could dump their hives.”

 

Sunflower pollen has medicinal, protective effects on bees
Sunflower pollen has medicinal, protective effects on bees With bee populations in decline, a new study offers hope for a relatively simple mechanism to promote bee health and well-being: providing bees access to sunflowers.
The study, conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, showed that two different species of bees fed a diet of sunflower pollen had dramatically lower rates of infection by specific pathogens. Bumble bees on the sunflower diet also had generally better colony health than bees fed on diets of other flower pollens.

 

Roundup exposure speeds up antibiotic resistance
Roundup exposure speeds up antibiotic resistance Bacteria can develop antibiotic resistance up to 100,000 times faster when exposed to Roundup and another widely-used herbicide, a study co-authored by a New Zealand scientist has found.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that herbicides used on a mass industrial scale, but not intended to be antibiotics, can have profound effects on bacteria, the University of Canterbury's Professor Jack Heinemann said.

 

Engaging Children In Beekeeping Lasts A Lifetime
Engaging Children In Beekeeping Lasts A Lifetime Recent research reports children ages 8-18 spend 6 hours or more with electronics. Getting children outdoors and away from technology, and participate in beekeeping is winning combination. It's important to keep future generations informed about the importance of bees in the ecosystem. If we can get kids engaged and motivated, we can see the rise of more conservation, and learning about beekeeping will give them the changes to understand how nature works. Later on in adulthood, there's a greater chance they might take up beekeeping as a hobby.

 

Changes in hypopharyngeal glands of nurse bees (Apis mellifera) induced by pollen-containing sublethal doses of the herbicide Roundup®
Changes in hypopharyngeal glands of nurse bees induced by pollen-containing sublethal doses of the herbicide Roundup Decreasing pollinator populations worldwide has generated great concern and stimulated countless studies to understand the origin of colony losses. One main cause is the indiscriminate use of different pesticides, producing subtle negative effects on bee physiology and behavior. Royal jelly synthesized in the hypopharyngeal glands is an essential protein for feeding all individuals of the hive, especially the queen.

 

Shockingly high levels of weedkiller found in popular breakfast cereals marketed for British children
Shockingly high levels of weedkiller found in popular breakfast cereals marketed for British children The UK Guardian reported: “There was no indication that the claims related to products sold outside the US.”
In view of this statement by the Guardian, we sent samples of four oat-based breakfast cereals marketed for children in the UK to the Health Research Institute, Fairfield, Iowa, an accredited laboratory for glyphosate testing.
Dr Fagan the Director says: “These results are consistently concerning. The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals, even the one with the lowest level of contamination, is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).

 

The Creator of GMO Potatoes Reveals The Dangerous Truth
The Creator of GMO Potatoes Reveals The Dangerous Truth Is it possible for GM potatoes to cause gene-silencing in other potatoes or pollinating insects such as bees ?
The problem with certain insects, including bees, is that they cannot degrade the small double-stranded RNAs that cause gene silencing. These double-stranded RNAs were intended to silence several potato genes in tubers, but they are likely to be expressed in pollen as well. So, when the pollen is consumed by bees, the double stranded RNAs in this pollen may silence bee genes that share inadvertent homology.

 

How wasp and bee stinger designs help deliver the pain
How wasp and bee stinger designs help deliver the pain Next time you're stung by a wasp or a honeybee, consider the elegantly designed stinger that caused you so much pain. Researchers found that the stingers of the two species are about five times softer at the tip than at the base to make it easier to pierce skin. The stingers are harder closer to the insect's body so they don't bend too much, or break, as you yelp in agony.

 

How do bees get a balanced diet if they only eat pollen and nectar ?
How do bees get a balanced diet if they only eat pollen and nectar? Bees rank highly in the affections of gardeners, right up there with birds, butterflies and hedgehogs. Bees are also unique among insects in their dependence on flowers –more or less everything needed to fuel adult bees and to grow new, young bees comes from pollen and nectar. So, not surprisingly, the quantities and qualities of food for bees provided by different flowers have been the subject of exhaustive research. So much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s nothing left to discover.

 

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