First pollinator plant logo scheme backed by DNA-barcoding

“The National Botanic Garden of Wales launches first pollinator plant logo scheme in the UK to be backed by DNA-barcoding science.

It is being rolled out to growers & nurseries so shoppers are guaranteed eligible plants are loved by bees and other pollinating insects, don’t contain synthetic insecticides and are grown in peat-free compost.

It aims to prevent pollinator decline and benefit other wildlife such as hedgehogs, sparrows and frogs …”

Read more …

https://botanicgarden.wales/press/science-fact-fuels-campaign-to-stamp-out-pollinator-friendly-fiction/


 

Monmouthshire – selective verge mowing

This year (2020) has seen significantly more wild meadow areas across Monmouthshire’s open spaces, as the council’s ground maintenance teams have left verges and parks largely unmowed to allow wild flowers to grow and attract more pollinators. These measures have helped to support biodiversity and contribute to Monmouthshire County Council’s climate change action plan. Feedback has been very positive, and it the council’s actions were recently highlighted by the BBC natural history series Springwatch.

Read more:-

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/2020/06/selective-mowing-continues-to-promote-meadow-management/?


 

Loss of bees causes crop shortage

A Guardian newspaper report:-

“A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.

Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis. Managed honeybees, meanwhile, are tended to by beekeepers, but have still been assailed by disease, leading to concerns that the three-quarters of the world’s food crops dependent upon pollinators could falter due to a lack of bees.

Of seven studied crops grown in 13 states across America, five showed evidence that a lack of bees is hampering the amount of food that can be grown, including apples, blueberries and cherries. A total of 131 crop fields were surveyed for bee activity and crop abundance by a coalition of scientists from the US, Canada and Sweden.  …. ”

Read more :-

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/29/bees-food-crops-shortage-study

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2020.0922


 

Making a beeline:-

The Guardian web site:-  “The conservation charity Buglife hopes to help restore and create at least 150,000 hectares of wildflower pathways with the launch on Monday 13th July 20 of its B-lines network for England.

B-Lines are a strategically mapped network of existing and potential wildflower habitats that criss-cross the country. The 3km-wide corridors stretch from the coast to the countryside and towns and cities, covering in total some 48,000 sq km of England….”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/12/making-a-beeline-wildflower-paths-across-uk-could-save-species

In Monmouthshire, B-Lines run from Chepstow up the Wye Valley and also Chepstow, Usk, Abergavenny and Monmouth.

https://www.buglife.org.uk/our-work/b-lines/b-lines-wales/


 

Reversing the Decline of Insects

Reversing the Decline of Insects, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts as part of their Action for Insects campaign, focuses on some examples of what can be done by everyone to halt and reverse this crisis. From the road verges of Stirling and Kent, to farms in Northern Ireland and Devon, the chalk streams of Wiltshire, and the urban greenspaces of Lambeth and Manchester, we highlight some of the many people and projects that are making a real difference to insects.

We can learn from these successes and, with your help, scale them up and roll them out across the country. We can create a network of insect-friendly habitat to ensure that our grandchildren grow up in a world where the flash of butterflies’ wings, the buzz of bumblebees and the chirp of crickets are all familiar sights and sounds ……………..

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/Reversing%20the%20Decline%20of%20Insects%20Report%20-EMBARGO%2008.07.20%20%282%29.pdf

Bees force plants to flower early

New Scientist report:-   “Hungry bumblebees can coax plants into flowering and making pollen up to a month earlier than usual by punching holes in their leaves.

Bees normally come out of hibernation in early spring to feast on the pollen of newly blooming flowers. However, they sometimes emerge too early and find that plants are still flowerless and devoid of pollen, which means the bees starve.

Fortunately, bumblebees have a trick up their sleeves for when this happens. Consuelo De Moraes at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and her colleagues discovered that worker bumblebees can make plants flower earlier than normal by using their mouthparts to pierce small holes in leaves.”

Read more:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2244009-bees-force-plants-to-flower-early-by-cutting-holes-in-their-leaves/

Moths have ‘secret role’ as crucial pollinators

BBC Report:-   “Dr Walton from University College London and colleagues monitored moth activity around ponds in agricultural areas of Norfolk.

They found that 45% of the moths they tested were transporting pollen, which originated from 47 different plant species, including several that were rarely visited by bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

The scientists found that while bumblebees and honeybees are critically important, they tended to target the most prolific nectar and pollen sources. Not so with moths.

“From what we see from our work, moths tend to be generalists, meaning they’re not specifically visiting a narrow group of flowers,” said Dr Walton. … ”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52630991

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0877

Are we witnessing an insect apocalypse?

The New Scientist reports:-

“Are we witnessing an insect apocalypse? It is complicated. The longest running study of insect populations in the world shows that the total mass of moths in Great Britain is double what it was in the 1960s, but has been declining by around 10 per cent a decade since the 1980s. This probably reflects what has happened to other kinds of insects, too. …. ”

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2227154-insect-biomass-in-britain-falling-but-may-still-be-double-1960s-level/#ixzz6Ktbedm2V

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2241413-reports-of-an-insect-apocalypse-are-overblown-but-still-concerning/?utm_source=NSDAY&utm_campaign=2b849f7e58-NSDAY_270420&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1254aaab7a-2b849f7e58-373938547

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6489/417