How warming winters are affecting everything

Graphic of melting North America with different plants and animals.

(Michigan Radio) Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it’s causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country – impacting pollinators and the plants they’re connected with. Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn’t spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.

Pollinators could thrive if improvements are made to agri-environment schemes across Europe, say researchers

Image of fly on flower.

(British Ecological Society) Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College joined forces with 22 pollinator experts from across Europe to evaluate how different Ecological Focus Area options varied in their potential to support insect pollinators such as bumble bees, solitary bees and hoverflies. Despite significant investment in EFAs, the study found they are failing to provide all the resources insect pollinators require.

Why the next threat to bees is organized crime

Image of honey bee entering hive.

(The Guardian) Pollination has become big business, and thieves are now targeting hives with growing sophistication in the U.S. The heists are often undertaken in the dead of night using forklifts and trucks. Hives are regularly split open or dismantled, interventions that can kill tens of thousands of the kidnapped bees. The problem has become severe enough in California that certain police officers now specialize in hive crime.

Bees forage less efficiently in high winds

Image of beekeeper looking at artificial flowers with honey bees.

(The Guardian) A controlled experiment reveals how high wind speeds can significantly reduce the efficiency of foraging honey bees. With no wind, the bees on average took nectar from 5.45 flowers during their 90-second time trial. When wind speeds were increased, this fell to an average of 3.73 flowers. Over the course of a day, a bee’s capacity to supply its colony with food would be significantly curtailed.

Minnesota cities could get power to ban pesticides as bee populations fall

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on Joe Pye weed.

(The Star Tribune) Lawmakers may give cities throughout Minnesota the authority to ban some widely used pesticides – including neonicotinoids – as native bumble bee and pollinator populations continue to collapse. The recently-introduced measure would grant each city the choice to issue a blanket ban on a group of pesticides that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has labeled as lethal to pollinators.