(Reuters) The European Court of Auditors looked at the effectiveness of the European Commission’s framework of measures aimed at protecting species also including wasps and beetles – such as its 2018 pollinators and biodiversity to 2020 initiatives. Such policies do not really help with the protection of pollinators, auditors said. The auditors even found that EU rules on pesticides are a main cause of wild pollinator losses.
(The Scotsman) Stirling Council is being called up to change its approach to grass cutting with two petitions asking the local authority to back down on trimming back verges and other green spaces on a regular basis. “Normally these spring wildflowers wouldn’t have the chance to bloom as grass cutting starts before their flowering period, but this year, as a result of lockdown, they have been left alone to do what they do best; feed the bees, and provide a beautiful display to cheer us all up in the process.”
(Euractiv) Beekeepers were shocked and devastated when they encountered a “carpet” of millions of dead bees lying on the ground in a northern region of Croatia. The local government has declared a natural disaster. Veterinary inspectors and forensic scientists are looking into what caused the deaths. Pesticide poisoning, though not officially confirmed as yet, is suspected to be the cause of this ecological disaster.
(EurekAlert/Pensoft Publishers) Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet is rapidly spreading through Europe. Within its native and invasive range, the hornet actively preys on honeybees. Due to its active praying on wild insects, the Asian hornet also has a negative impact on ecosystems in general and contributes to the global decline of pollination services and honey production. In a recent study, French scientists tried to evaluate the first estimated control costs for this invasion.
(Twitter, @MattEAShardlow) “30 NGOs write to the @EU_Commission asking for urgent & improved action to halt the decline in insects.” The full letter is here.
(Reuters) The European Commission decided not to renew approval for thiacloprid. The Commission based its assessment on findings of the European Food Safety Agency published in January last year. The findings highlighted concerns about the active substance being toxic for humans and present in too great a concentration in ground water. The pesticide also harms bees and bumblebees, weakening their immune systems and impairing their reproduction, the findings said.
(British Ecological Society) Researchers found that exposure to chronic low-dose radiation, similar to levels found in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, negatively affects bumble bee energy use by increasing their metabolic rate and food consumption. “An increase in nectar consumption for an individual bee could have important ecological consequences…”
(Julius-Maximilians-Universität) Wild populations of the western honey bee were widely assumed to be extinct in Europe. “However, recent fieldwork studies reveal that wild honey bees still exist in forests: Their colonies mainly nest in tree cavities.” So far, wild honey bees have only been observed in northern Poland and Germany, but new research estimates there could be as many as 80,000 wild honey bee colonies in European forests.