For bees and other wildlife, a stretch of sand is a land of plenty

Image of researcher with net standing in front of sand dune.

(Chesapeake Bay Program) Near a swampy forest littered with trash, two biologists went searching for insects. A chance of rain had dampened their morning prospects, but with the temperature climbing, the mild afternoon in March held the chance that their target species would be active: ground-nesting bees and tiger beetles. “Sand habitats are a cornerstone of where we go to look for rare things, but also should be the cornerstone of conservation.”

Rolled cardboard makes a handy insect-sampling tool

Image of rolled cardboard trap tied to tree.

(Entomology Today) Collecting information on insects and other small arthropods is time-consuming and expensive. The methods used to collect arthropods living in the microhabitats of trees can be especially challenging – and destructive. But a group of Israeli researchers have developed a simple and seemingly effective arthropod trap: rolled-up tubes of corrugated cardboard tied to trees with string. They captured numerous types of insects including cockroaches, spiders, wasps and bees.

How animals understand numbers influences their chance of survival

Image of shapes for counting.

(EurekAlert/Cell Press) From birds to bees and wolves to frogs, animals use numbers to hunt, find a mate, return to their home, and more. Honey bees, for example, can remember the number of landmarks they pass when searching for food in order to find their way back to the hive. “The last common ancestor between honey bees and us primates lived about 600 million years ago. But still, they evolved numerical competence that, in many respects, is comparable to vertebrae numerical competence.”

Ecosystem services are not constrained by borders

Image of cocoa fruit.

(Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ) Many countries benefit from ecosystem services provided outside their nations. This can happen through economic relationships, biological and geographical conditions, but we hardly know how and where these ecosystem service flows occur. German researchers have published a new study showing how interregional ecosystem service flows can be identified and quantified.

Invest in pollinator monitoring for long-term gain

Image of strawberries next to a free-standing hedgerow

(The Niche, pg. 10) Despite urgent need, monitoring insect pollinators, especially wild bees and hover flies, has often been considered too expensive to implement at a national scale. A research team is studying how to improve pollinator monitoring in the UK in a cost-effective manner. This research examines hidden benefits of monitoring schemes. By pooling data and expertise from a wide range of resources, the costs of schemes have been estimated to be between £5,600 ($6,900) for a small volunteer-led scheme collecting basic data and £2.8 million ($3.5 million) per year for professional monitoring of both pollinating insects and pollination to the UK’s crops. Overall, for every £1 invested in pollinator monitoring schemes, at least £1.50 can be saved from costly, independent research projects.

New Mexico unveils ‘pollinator protection’ license plate

Image of new license plate.

(Santa Fe New Mexican) The state transportation department said proceeds from the new plates will help fund planting projects along state roads. The pollinator project also will create educational gardens and reduce mowing and spraying of herbicides along roadways as a way to improve habitat for bees and other pollinators. The plate features the artwork of a sixth-grade student from the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy.

Kangaroo Island beekeepers feed surviving bees, distribute bushfire funds

Image of bushfires.

(The Islander) The Kangaroo Island Beekeepers Group wants to track down all honey producers operating on the Island so that bushfire funds can be fairly distributed. “As a collective we need to decide how we can use this money to benefit the KI beekeeping community. However, we do not have a complete contact list for the Island’s beekeepers.”