BBC News and Daily Mail report scientists have discovered a new behaviour among bumblebees that tricks plants into flowering early. Researchers found that when deprived of pollen, bumblebees will nibble on the leaves of flowerless plants. The damage done seems to fool the plant into flowering, sometimes up to 30 days earlier than normal. Writing in the journal Science, the scientists say they have struggled to replicate the bees’ trick in the laboratory.
Photo by Jice75 under creative commons.
The Independent report nineteen per cent of flowers sampled near domestic beehives had viruses on them. Beekeepers could be fuelling the worrying decline of wild bees, new research suggests. Wild bumblebees can contract diseases from domestic honeybees if they share the same flowers, according to new US research which suggests domestic beehives should be kept out of areas home to particularly vulnerable pollinators.
The Times reports a strip of central reservation in an industrial zone in a rugged former mining town is not the first place you’d imagine to find an oasis of nature but that is what Rotherham has managed with a “river of flowers” along eight miles of roads. A blend of cornflowers, poppies, fairy toadflax, marigolds and more have washed an otherwise urban landscape with a spray of colour.
The project has been widely praised on social media, not just for its appearance but also for its help to the ailing bee population, as well as the local authority’s budget, which has saved £23,000 by no longer having to regularly cut back the plant life.
Many species of bee are on the brink of extinction in parts of the UK – and some types have been lost entirely, a report has found.
Climate change, habitat loss, pollution and disease are threatening the pollinators, the analysis of 228 species concluded. Many are battling to keep up with the changing face of their landscape and increasingly hot weather.
It discovered that 17 species were regionally extinct – including the Great Yellow Bumblebee, the Potter Flower Bee and the Cliff Mason Bee – with 25 types threatened and another 31 of conservation concern.
The bee’s pollinating services are worth £690 million a year to the UK economy.
The INDEPENDENT reports more than 97 per cent of UK wildflower meadows have disappeared since Second World War. A London council is growing a seven-mile long “bee corridor” of wildflowers in an effort to boost the numbers of pollinating insects this summer.
Brent Council in north London is sowing 22 wildflower meadows in the borough’s parks and open spaces, which together will form 50,000sq m of new flowering spaces and stretch seven miles in length. The council said it believed the initiative to be the first of its kind in the capital.
The Guardian reports if you’ve ever felt a pang of pity for a starving bee struggling on the pavement in front of you, then help may soon be at hand. Or more precisely, in your wallet.
A community development worker has invented a credit card-style reviver for bees containing three sachets of sugar solution, which can be placed beside the insect to feed it.
Dan Harris, 40, is now crowdfunding to produce the “Bee Saviour” cards after the success of his prototype, with community groups and businesses in his local city of Norwich, including the Book Hive bookshop and a local pub, pledging to stock the £4 bee revivers.
Each card contains three indentations containing a beekeepers’ formula, secured by foil-backed stickers which can be peeled off.
Photo by Jim Smart under creative commons.
The Guardian writes on new research revealing the differences between urban and rural bumblebees.
“Urban bumblebees have better access to food, allowing them to produce more offspring. Bumblebees are important pollinators, but face threats including habitat loss, climate change, pesticide and fungicide use and parasites.
Now researchers say that bumblebee colonies in urban areas not only produce more offspring than those on agricultural land, but have more food stores, fewer invasions from parasitic “cuckoo” bumblebees, and survive for longer.”
[Photo by Jice75 under creative commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/]
It’s National Insect Week! You can celebrate the wonder of insects and take part in the Great British Bee Count.
Set up by Friends of the Earth, and supported by Buglife, this count has run since 17 May and will continue until 30 June. Download the app to make a note and report any bumblebees and solitary bees you see. It has a handy guide for identification as well as advise on how to create habitats for pollinators.
[Photo by Rob Gallop under creative commons
The BBC reports on how most uses of insecticides known as neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed.
[photo © Rob Gallop]