What are B-Lines?

The wildlife charity Buglife say – “B-Lines are a proposed solution to the problem of the loss of flowers and pollinators. The B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns, along which we are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones.

Much of our wildlife is confined to tiny fragments of habitat and unable to move across the countryside as our climate and landscape rapidly changes. It has been predicted that 40-70% of species could go extinct if action is not taken to enable species to move through the landscape.”

https://www.buglife.org.uk/b-lines-hub

See the map of proposed B-Lines:-

https://www.buglife.org.uk/b-lines-hub/map

Bees develop preference for pesticides

The Guardian newspaper report:-

“Insects’ acquired taste for pesticide-laced food is similar to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists.

Bumblebees acquire a taste for pesticide-laced food that can be compared to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists. The more of the nicotine-like chemicals they consume, the more they appear to want, a study has shown.  The findings suggest that the risk of potentially harmful pesticide-contaminated nectar entering bee colonies is higher than was previously thought.

In a series of studies, a team of British researchers offered bumblebees a choice of two sugar solutions, one of which was laced with neonicotinoid pesticides.  They found that over time the bees increasingly preferred feeders containing the pesticide-flavoured sugar.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/29/like-nicotine-bees-develop-preference-for-pesticides-study-shows

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1885/20180655

EU pesticide ban failing to protect bee populations

Bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to significant levels of pesticides despite the EU ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops, new research from University of Sussex scientists shows.

While the introduction of new EU restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid chemicals five years ago has reduced exposure of bees living in farmland, the study found that overall more than half of all pollen and nectar samples collected from bee nests in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Scotland between 2013 and 2015 were contaminated.

Read the press release:-  The Pesticide Ban is Failing

Cities are better for bumblebees than the countryside.

The Guardian newspaper reports a study by Royal Holloway University :-

“Bumblebee colonies fare better in villages and cities than in fields, research has revealed.

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.

“[The study] is not saying that cities are necessarily the ideal habitat for bees, it is just that they are doing better in the cities than in the countryside,” said Ash Samuelson, a doctoral student and first author of the research from Royal Holloway, University of London.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/27/bumblebees-thrive-in-towns-more-than-countryside

 

Bumblebees use perfume patterns to tell flowers apart

Guardian newspaper report ….

“Pollinators don’t just wing it when it comes to finding a sweet treat: the shape, colour, perfume and even electrical charge of flowers are all known to offer clues.

But now researchers say bumblebees also use another floral feature to guide them: how the concentration of a scent varies across the flower’s surface.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/13/bumblebees-use-perfume-patterns-to-tell-flowers-apart?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Lab+notes+2016&utm_term=278201&subid=25664344&CMP=ema-3242

https://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/en/publications/bumblebees-distinguish-floral-scent-patterns-and-can-transfer-these-to-corresponding-visual-patterns(943b7ba6-cae5-4662-96aa-705afc19cdc4).html

 

Control pests in Oil Seed Rape without chemicals.

Farmers need effective alternatives to neonicotinoids that do not harm bees or other beneficial insects. This report looks at evidence and farmer practice in using non-chemical methods of pest control in oilseed rape (OSR).

Our research found that combining a range ofalternative techniques in a genuine Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) approach should enable farmers to significantly improve control of OSR pests without neonicotinoids.

https://cdn.friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/Farming%20Oilseed%20Rape%20without%20Neonicotinoids.pdf

 

Wildflowers cut pesticide use.

Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying.
The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops.  See the Guardian newspaper report: –

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/31/stripes-of-wildflowers-across-farm-fields-could-cut-pesticide-spraying

RHS changes Perfect for Pollinators label.

The Royal Horticultural Society has changed the name of it’s pollinator friendly plant list from “Perfect for Pollinators” to “Plants for Pollinators”.  This is because some of the plants on the list contained traces of pesticides.  RHS cannot check every supplier of plants so they recommend using an organic plant nusery to avoid plants which have had pesticide treatment.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators

EU Bans Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Report in The Guardian newspaper … “The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.

The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides

Friends of the Earth Report

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/beeharming-pesticides-banned