Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported

Image of pesticide-coated seeds

(Penn State) Pesticide-coated seeds – including neonicotinoids – are increasingly used in the major field crops but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers. “One of the most important findings of this study is that farmers know less about pesticides applied to their seeds than pesticides applied in other ways.”

‘Self-fertilizing’ almonds still do better with bee pollination

Aerial image of beekeepers with hives in almond orchard.

(University of Hawai’i) Researchers examined the true “independence” of a new self-fertilizing almond variety called ‘Independence’. They found that this variety still performed better when bees were assisting in pollination. “This article highlights the danger of misinformation – the variety is marketed as ‘self-fertilizing’, but growers don’t know they will get less yield without bees.”

Pollinators could thrive if improvements are made to agri-environment schemes across Europe, say researchers

Image of fly on flower.

(British Ecological Society) Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College joined forces with 22 pollinator experts from across Europe to evaluate how different Ecological Focus Area options varied in their potential to support insect pollinators such as bumble bees, solitary bees and hoverflies. Despite significant investment in EFAs, the study found they are failing to provide all the resources insect pollinators require.

Why the next threat to bees is organized crime

Image of honey bee entering hive.

(The Guardian) Pollination has become big business, and thieves are now targeting hives with growing sophistication in the U.S. The heists are often undertaken in the dead of night using forklifts and trucks. Hives are regularly split open or dismantled, interventions that can kill tens of thousands of the kidnapped bees. The problem has become severe enough in California that certain police officers now specialize in hive crime.

Precision pollination research in sunflowers shows promise

Image of field of sunflowers.

(Duluth News Tribune) Early results of Bee Innovative’s research in North Dakota sunflower fields show the potential for increased quality of seeds and, as a result, increased income to farmers. The company’s BeeDar tracks the movement of bees as they pollinate a field; if part of the field isn’t being pollinated, bees can be moved in to service that portion. Bee Innovative is looking to establish a U.S. company later in 2020 and North Dakota is a front-runner.

Bees and crop plants subjects of new ‘pollination guide’ for Brazil

Image of wild bees on squash blossom.

(Phys.org/University of Freiburg) Over many years, researchers from the University of Freiburg have compiled data on the global pollination of major crop plants, above all, fruit and vegetables. Together with scientists from the Federal University of Ceará in Fortaleza, Brazil, they have analyzed the data and developed a “Pollination Guide” for Brazil. The guide is intended to give Brazilian farmers information on the importance of bees and other pollinating insects, so that they treat the habitats of wild pollinators with care.