Saving heather will help to save our wild bees

Image of bumble bee on flower.

(Phys.org/Royal Holloway, University of London) A new study published today has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite. The parasite, Crithidia bombi, is common among wild bumble bees and can be transmitted between bumble bees on flowers or within the nest.

Leave the leaves

Image of bumble bee among leaves on ground.

(Xerces Society) As the leaves and temperatures drop, it might be tempting to forget about your pollinator garden until spring. But don’t call it quits just yet! While it may seem like the bees have vanished for the year, they haven’t actually gone anywhere. With that in mind, here are some important steps you can take to continue protecting the pollinators in your yard this winter.

Investigators look into what caused thousands of bees to die in Spokane neighborhood

Image of honey bees.

(KREM) Bee investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture arrived this week to begin looking into what caused the rapid die off. Investigators are asking questions to people who live in Corbin Park about what they’ve noticed to try and pinpoint a cause. They suited up, took pictures of the neighborhood, collected some of the dead bees and took samples of hives.

California Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects, including pollinator habitat

Image of field with wildflowers.

(California Department of Fish and Wildlife) The California Wildlife Conservation Board approved approximately $10.7 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Included is a $750,000 grant to implement monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat improvements on privately owned land in various counties.

Communities across Connecticut are creating a pollinator pathway for bees and butterflies

Image of girls planting.

(Connecticut Magazine) A grassroots effort, the Pollinator Pathway has spread from town to town with people from land trusts, garden clubs, conservation commissions and watershed associations working with nature centers, municipalities, schools, Scout troops and businesses. Pollinator conservation has not been subject to a lot of political polarization like many other forms of conservation. However, the biggest challenge leaders face is changing the “perfect green lawn” aesthetic. “It looks kind of uninformed and stupid to have a lawn that looks like a golf course. If you have no clover or dandelions, your lawn is a desert.”