(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.”
(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.”
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Capital Press) A new agreement between the California Almond Board and the Pollinator Partnership aims to improve habitat for bees by increasing the number of farmers taking steps to protect pollinators, and to recognize producers for best practices.
(Virginia Tech) The bees-and-beef study is seeking to integrate native wildflowers into pasture systems in a way that does not decrease cattle production, and that creates enough bloom that it helps to preserve pollinators.