In bee decline, fungicides emerge as improbable villain

Read the full story from Cornell University.

When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides.

Instead, they found a shocker: fungicides, commonly thought to have no impact.

The Butterfly Effect

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

Southern California’s Ellwood Mesa, with nearly 80 acres of protected eucalyptus forest, is a refuge for the vanishing western monarch butterflies during the winter months. But the state’s most recent drought has left the future of the forest in jeopardy.

A worldwide survey of neonicotinoids in honey

E. A. D. Mitchell, B. Mulhauser, M. Mulot, A. Mutabazi, G. Glauser A. Aebi (2017). “A worldwide survey of neonicotinoids in honey.” Science 358(6359), 109-111. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aan3684

Abstract: Growing evidence for global pollinator decline is causing concern for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services maintenance. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been identified or suspected as a key factor responsible for this decline. We assessed the global exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids by analyzing 198 honey samples from across the world. We found at least one of five tested compounds (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in 75% of all samples, 45% of samples contained two or more of these compounds, and 10% contained four or five. Our results confirm the exposure of bees to neonicotinoids in their food throughout the world. The coexistence of neonicotinoids and other pesticides may increase harm to pollinators. However, the concentrations detected are below the maximum residue level authorized for human consumption (average ± standard error for positive samples: 1.8 ± 0.56 nanograms per gram).

Atop a Manhattan Convention Center, a Harvest of Honey

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Let us begin not with the who, which was several thousand bees and a bunch of people in anti-sting gear that looked like spacesuits, or the what, which was harvesting honey. Let us go directly to the where.

It was not a bosky setting that would bring to mind the Robert Frost poemabout good fences and good neighbors, but the south roof of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Here the neighbors are the unfinished towers of the Hudson Yards development. They ring what has become an urban meadow — the south roof, mostly covered by 6.75 acres of kaleidoscopic sedum. It is yellowish green. It will turn red in time for Christmas.

The bees have been in residence since spring. The first 12,000 came from California, transplanted in a three-pound container that looked like a shoe box with screens on both sides. They were placed in wooden hives, which look like stackable drawers. There were 60,000 to 80,000 by midsummer.

Bees Are Bouncing Back From Colony Collapse Disorder

Read the full story from Bloomberg News.

The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday.

How General Mills Celebrates Honey Bees

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

Could you do your job if you were kicked out your house, had no food, and under constant attack by parasites and poisons? Not likely. But this is what life is like for many species of birds, bees and other insects who pollinate our crops and help grow one-third of the global food supply.

Minnesota citizen scientists thrill at sightings of endangered bumble bee

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Scientific discoveries don’t always come from scientists in a lab.

Amanda Sampson Townsend made one in July when she sunk her feet into a small patch of colorful, black-eyed Susan and bee balm in southeast Minnesota.

“I looked down and right on this little bee balm plant, right next to me, was this little bee,” Sampson Townsend said.

Finding a bee seems like a small discovery, but Sampson Townsend didn’t find just any bee.

Sampson Townsend found a rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), she said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the species on the federally endangered list in March.