(Syrcause.com) Dropcopter, a startup that uses drones to pollinate orchards, won $500,000 in the Grow-NY food and agriculture business competition. Combplex, another startup that’s testing the use of lasers to kill Varroa mites on honey bees, was awarded $250,000.
(Phys.org/Norwegian University of Science and Technology) “These materials are really cool. One of their properties is that they expand if you apply an electrical voltage to them, but return to normal when the electrical voltage is removed. You can use this feature to create a small and efficient engine that can mimic the way bees fly.”
(Science News) In the lab, honey bees were more aggressive toward other bees after being exposed to electromagnetic fields at strengths similar to what they might experience at ground level under electricity transmission lines. Those exposed bees also were slower to learn to respond to a new threat than unexposed bees were.
(Indiana University) The revelation is based upon a tumbling flower beetle with pollen on its legs discovered preserved in amber deep inside a mine in northern Myanmar. This discovery pushes back the earliest documented instance of insect pollination to a time when pterodactyls still roamed the skies – or about 50 million years earlier than previously thought.
(EurekAlert/Entomological Society of America) While the field of morphology is centuries old, the last two decades have brought incredible leaps forward through the emergence of new technologies and genetic research methods. And the impact of these advances has been revolutionary for the scientists working to untangle the vast biodiversity and evolutionary paths of the world of insects.
(Florida Museum) The first appearance of bright green leaves heralds the start of spring, nudging insects, birds and other animals into a whirlwind of action. But a new study shows that urbanization shifts this seasonal cue in nuanced ways, with cities in cold climates triggering earlier spring plant growth and cities in warm climates delaying it. The study also found that the urban heat island effect is not the only culprit behind the shift, suggesting that other aspects of urbanization, such as pollution, changes in humidity and fertilizer runoff, may also influence plants’ seasonal patterns.
(BBC) There are 180 different types of bees found in Wales. However, seven species have already been wiped out and five more are on the brink of extinction. Others are clinging on, including the large mason bee, found nowhere in the UK other than two sites in the Llyn Peninsula.
(Concord Monitor) New Hampshire has 5,000 miles of roads. Rights of way along all that mileage totals tens of thousands of acres, which isn’t used for much except road signs. But New Hampshire Fish and Game has received a $50,000 grant from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, boosted by $50,000 in matching state funds and grants, in hopes of using roadsides and center areas to grow plants that support butterflies, bees and other pollen-eating insects.