California attorney general calls out insufficient regulation of insecticide

Image of honey bee on flower.

(Santa Barbara Independent) Flonicamid is currently under review by the EPA for residential use, but California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asserts the insecticide may be toxic to bees and other critical pollinators. A new study on adult honey bees found flonicamid to be fatal for bees, Becerra stated in a letter to the EPA. A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

If bumble bees become endangered in California, farmers say it sets a ‘dangerous precedent’

Image of western bumble bee in yellow flowers.

(CapRadio) Last June, the California Fish and Game Commission decided to list four bees as candidates to be endangered species, writing that there was a “substantial possibility” that the bees would end up protected by the act. Their candidacy provides temporary protection. But many agricultural interests are upset over the listing, and are suing to stop the insects from joining the more than 250 species protected by the act.

Xerces, Defenders, CFS seek to join lawsuit defending decision to protect four native bees in California

Image of Crotch's bumble bee on flowers.

(Xerces Society) The Xerces Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Food Safety contend that the California Fish and Game Commission has clear legal authority to place insects on the state’s endangered species list. There is also strong scientific support that these four bee species meet the requirements for listing. Under the current regulatory timeline, the Commission is likely to make a final decision to place these four species on the list this year, making these bees the first invertebrate pollinators to receive such protection in California.

New study helps California’s bumble bees by identifying their favorite flowers

Image of bumble bee in lupines.

(Entomology Today) “We discovered plants that were big winners for all bumble bee species but, just as importantly, plant species that were very important for only a single bumble bee species. This study allowed us to provide a concise, scientifically based list of important plant species to use in habitat restoration that will meet the needs of multiple bumble bee species and provide blooms across the entire annual life cycle.”

New smartphone technology aimed at protecting bees during local almond bloom

Image of honey bees on almond blooms.

(The Bakersfield Californian) BeeWhere, a smartphone app introduced statewide in California last fall, lets beekeepers register their colonies’ location so that companies applying pesticides and fungicides know not to spray or fumigate nearby during daytime hours when honey bees tend to be outside their hives. According to California state law, chemicals deemed to be a threat to honey bees may not be applied within one mile of a bee colony.

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.

California Fish and Game Commission adds four bumble bees to candidate list

Image of bumble bee on pink flower.

(JD Supra/Nossaman LLP) The Commission voted 3-1 that listing four subspecies of bumble bee may be warranted under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).​ The decision was made after the Xerces Society, Center for Food Safety, and Defenders of Wildlife filed a petition to list the Crotch bumble bee, Franklin’s bumble bee, Suckley cuckoo bumble bee, and western bumble bee as endangered species.

Return of long-lost bees creating a lot of Presidio buzz

Image of research in field with net.

(San Francisco Chronicle) Silver digger bees began to disappear as the vast coastal prairie on the western side of San Francisco was paved over for development and were all but gone by the mid-20th century. But their recent rediscovery is an example of how the removal of invasive plants and the restoration of dunes and grasses at a former military base have helped bring back this lost species that had thrived here for tens of thousands of years before the city was built.