Wildfires deal another blow to Northern California’s honey bee populations

Image of beekeeper lifting frame from hive.

(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.

Australian hives recover after heavy toll of drought and bushfire

Image of honey bee frame being lifted out of hive.

(ABC News) The bee population in New South Wales has bounced back after heavy losses during the drought and bushfires. Widespread rain to date in 2020 has led to a bumper spring, with winter crops, trees and plants all blossoming for the first time in years. “This is probably the best start to a bee season in at last 20 years in the southern half of the state and it’s greatly improved in the northern part of the state.”

Pest control company promotes pollinator protection

Image of honey bee boxes.

(Pest Control Technology) Relocating bee swarms, funding bee research and promoting beekeeping are just some of the ways Abell Pest Control, Ontario, Canada, protects pollinators and raises awareness of the worldwide bee population decline. As part of its Abell Saves Bees program, the company distributed 10,000 wildflower seed packets this summer to celebrate World Honey Bee Day.

Do more bees mean more berries? A blueberry pollination research update

Image of southeastern blueberry bee.

(Florida Blueberry Growers Association) Blueberry growers know that to get good yields, you need bees. So researchers looked at the three main pollinators of blueberries in Florida: honey bees, managed bumble bees and southeastern blueberry bees (Habropoda laboriosa). They found that the southeastern blueberry bee had the greatest effect on both percent fruit set and yield.

New scorecard ranks top food retailers on bee-friendly policies

Image of scorecard.

(PerishableNews.com) Major U.S. food retailer, Giant Eagle, released a new policy making the company the only top retailer to make a clear commitment to reduce toxic pesticide use, according to a new Bee-Friendly Retailer Scorecard released today by Friends of the Earth. The scorecard ranks 25 of the top food retailers in the United States on policies and practices related to pesticide use in their food and beverage supply chains.

Beesharing start-up brings bees and German farmers together

Image of beekeeper holding frame.

(IamExpat) The start-up introduced a new service last year for farmers and their advisors. The platform allows them to indicate how large of an area they need pollinating, what crops are being grown and whether there are other agricultural fields in the immediate vicinity. This allows them to calculate how many bees are needed for their fields, as well as what kind of bees they need: mason bees, bumble bees or honey bees.

Real honey… without bees?

Image of honey dripping from stick.

(FoodNavigator-USA) First came real milk proteins without cows, then egg proteins without chickens, and collagen without animals … and now honey, minus the bees? While the company won’t discuss the details of the proprietary process, it confirms that synthetic biology and microbial fermentation are involved, technologies now deployed by a growing number of companies to produce everything from whey protein to vitamins.

Hand pollination, not agrochemicals, increases cocoa yield and farmer income

Image of cocoa beans.

(ScienceDaily, University of Göttingen) Cocoa is in great demand on the world market, but there are many different ways to increase production. A research team has now investigated the relative importance of the use of pesticides, fertilizers and manual pollination in a well replicated field trial in Indonesian agroforestry systems. The result: an increase in both cocoa yield and farming income was achieved – not by agrochemicals, but by manual pollination.