(Capital Press) The Sacramento County Superior Court ruled last month that the state lacks the authority to list four types of bumble bees as endangered species. Environmental groups called the decision “deeply disappointing;” farm groups lauded it as a “huge victory.” But the ruling may not be the final word. The state may appeal the decision, and environmental groups say they plan to pursue alternative action.
(Phys.org, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Bees and humans are about as different organisms as one can imagine. Yet despite their many differences, surprising similarities in the ways that they interact socially have begun to be recognized in the last few years. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, building on their earlier studies, have experimentally measured the social networks of honey bees and how they develop over time. They discovered that there are detailed similarities with the social networks of humans and that these similarities are completely explained by new theoretical modeling, which adapts the tools of statistical physics for biology. The theory, confirmed in experiments, implies that there are individual differences between honey bees, just as there are between humans.
(The Minnesota Daily) Using the University of Minnesota Insect Collection, a team of bee researchers at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is tracking and studying native bees in the hope of understanding how the insects have been impacted by the climate crisis. Because researchers do not have a comprehensive list of which bees are native to Minnesota, they do not know much about these insects.
(Inside Climate News) Research published by Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment has found that pollinator-friendly solar can boost crop yields, increase the recharging of groundwater, reduce soil erosion and provide long-term cost savings in operations and maintenance. The research also found that by creating a cooler microclimate, perennial vegetation can increase the efficiency of solar panels, upping their energy output.
(Twitter, Scott MacIvor @jscottmacivor) “We survey bumble bees in @RougePark and show links between flowers visited and bacteria communities in pollen loads. Bee-microbe-flower interactions need more attention!” The original paper.
(San Francisco Chronicle) The flatbed truck was laden with chickens and honey as Caroline Yelle sped away from her Vacaville apiary, away from the flames licking the ridgeline. The honey bees would have to stay behind. By the time she returned, more than half of her 700 bee hives were reduced to ashes. The surrounding hills, once thick with yellow star thistle where the bees gathered pollen, were stone gray and barren from the Hennessey Fire. The wildfires dealt yet another devastating blow to the all-important pollinator already facing myriad challenges, from mite infestations to widespread colony collapse.
(Washington University in St. Louis) A new study grounded in the northern Rockies explores the role of fire in the finely tuned dance between plants and their pollinators. The researchers discovered that wildfire disturbance and plant-pollinator interactions are both important in determining where plants take root and where pollinators are found. But in burned landscapes, plant-pollinator interactions are generally as important or more important than any other factor in determining the composition of species present.
(ScienceDaily, University of Waterloo) Researchers have developed an environmentally friendly, fully automated technique that extracts pyrethroids from the honey. Extracting the pyrethroids with the solid phase microextraction method makes it easier to measure whether their levels in the honey are above those considered safe for human consumption. It can also help identify locations where farmers use the pesticide and in what amounts. The substance has traditionally been difficult to extract because of its chemical properties.