Neonicotinoids pose undocumented threats to food webs

Image of corn field with "neonicotinoids" warning sign.

(PNAS) “One of the main lessons that emerged from Silent Spring is that we overuse pesticides at our own peril because human and natural environments are unquestionably linked. It is time to revisit these lessons given current use patterns of neonicotinoid insecticides… We contend that the efficient and well-documented transmission of neonicotinoids through tripartite food chains – plant to pest to natural enemy – combined with the diversity of nontarget herbivores on treated plants threatens entire food webs by disrupting arthropod communities and interactions.”

Does city life make bumble bees larger?

Image of city street.

(ScienceDaily, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) Does urbanization drive bumble bee evolution? According to a new study, bumble bees are larger in cities and, therefore, more productive than their rural counterparts. The research team reports that differences in body size may be caused by the increasingly fragmented habitats in cities.

Agency denies critical habitat for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(AP) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not designate critical habitat for the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be listed as endangered, a move that environmentalists said would worsen its chances for recovery. The agency said it had determined the rusty patched bumble bee could survive without having specific areas managed for its protection, even though its population has plummeted 90% in the past couple of decades.

Even bees argue over where to get dinner

Image of honey bee being held by fingers.

(Arizona State University) There’s a learning behavior called latent inhibition. It screens out irrelevant stimuli, allowing the mind to focus on the most pressing and practical issues. If you’ve ignored emails to get a report in on deadline, you’re familiar with it. Honey bees with high latent inhibition forage at the same trusted spots, day in and day out. Low latent inhibition bees learn new and familiar food locations equally well. What happens in the bee world in a mixed colony? Who wins out?

Bee breeder loses everything in LNU Lightning Complex fires

Image of burned bee boxes.

(CBS13) It’s a hard reality to see what’s left of Caroline Yelle’s Bee farm in ashes. Five hundred of her hives in Vacaville and at another location in Napa Valley all burned. The flames from the LNU Lightning Complex Fires surrounded Yelle’s seven years of work. The fire also destroyed her mentor’s home and four decades of his own legacy that he left to her.