New Scientist article 2nd Sept 2020 :- “Honeybees can calculate probability, but it seems they don’t use it the same way we tend to… ” Bees “… matched the proportion of visits with the probability of getting sweet water, so for flowers with 66 per cent odds of sugar, they visited them roughly two-thirds of the time. This is known as probability matching…”
Buglife are pleased to report the discovery of the Carrot Mining Bee (Andrena nitidiuscula) in Wales for the very first time! Buglife Cymru staff undertaking bee surveys as part of the ‘Searching for Scabious’ project made the discovery during a recent visit to Lavernock Point Nature Reserve – a Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) reserve in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.
Read more …
A BBC web site report …
A “nationally scarce” species of bee has been found in Newport for the first time, conservationists say.
Buglife Cymru said it discovered a “strong population” of small scabious mining bees at St Julian’s Park local nature reserve last week. It said it marked the first time the species had been found in the city or the surrounding area. Conservation officer Liam Olds said: “To discover a new population of this rare bee in Newport is very exciting. ….
Bee Friendly Monmouthshire has produced a video featuring a small garden in Monmouthshire where wildlife friendly habitat has resulted in presence of a high number of bee and wasp species.
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 :-
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.”
‘Bees are sentinels’: “mass bee die-offs signal the wider impact of Brazil’s pesticide boom”
“The footage is unpleasant to watch: thousands of bees writhe, disoriented, on the ground in front of their hive. The dead bodies of thousands more lie beneath them.
But the smell, said beekeeper Aldo Machado, is even worse.
“Dead bees smell like dead rats,” he said. “The smell is very strong, it really is. It’s like any other meat.”
Half a billion bees are estimated to have died from December 2018 to January 2019 in southern Brazil. Machado, vice-president of Rio Grande do Sul’s beekeeping society, has been hearing reports of die-offs since 2013.
Machado sent samples of his bees for analysis, which showed that they were contaminated with an insecticide called fipronil, commonly used to control ants and termites on soy crops.”
“Brazil may be the biggest market for highly hazardous pesticides in the world, according to a new analysis of 2018 industry data. Almost two thirds of the toxic chemicals sold in Brazil were used on soya, grown to meet global demand for animal feed”.
Watch the video…
Bees and wildlife are much in the public eye these days, with frequent media reports of declines. In the UK, for example, approximately 70% of the land area is used for agriculture. Clearly, helping wildlife at a national level requires agricultural land to play a major role and there are various encouragements for this, with funding opportunities like the Countryside Stewardship scheme (Supplement 1) (244 separate grants including for ‘badger gates’, ‘beetle banks’, and ‘autumn sown bumble bee mix’) and advice and support from organisations such as LEAF (Supplement 2) (Linking Environment and Farming).
What can the general public do? A plethora of products such as nest boxes, feeding stations and wildlife friendly seeds are available to purchase on-line and in garden centres. Internet shopping websites such as Amazon UK list over 10,000 products for bees in their Garden and Outdoors section.
Here we take a close look at a number of these products which are specifically designed to help bees and other insects: bee hotels, bee bricks, bee and butterfly seed balls, and ladybird and butterfly houses. Our investigation uses a number of approaches, including expert responses and scientific research results….
Researchers discover that neonicotinoid seed treatments are driving a dramatic increase in insecticide toxicity in U.S. agricultural landscapes, despite evidence that these treatments have little to no benefit in many crops….