Saving heather will help to save our wild bees

Image of bumble bee on flower.

(Phys.org/Royal Holloway, University of London) A new study published today has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite. The parasite, Crithidia bombi, is common among wild bumble bees and can be transmitted between bumble bees on flowers or within the nest.

New England power line corridors harbor rare bees and other wild things

Image of researchers collecting bees beneath power lines.

(The Conversation) To many people, power line corridors are eyesores that alter wild lands. But ecologically they are swaths of open, scrubby landscapes under transmission lines that support a rich and complex menagerie of life. New England researchers have surveyed bee communities in these corridors, finding numerous native species – including one of which is so rare it was thought to have been lost decades ago from the United States.

Climate change could pit species against one another as they shift ranges

Image of wildflowers with mountain in background.

(University of British Columbia) Species have few good options when it comes to surviving climate change; they can genetically adapt to new conditions, shift their ranges, or both. But new research indicates that conflicts between species as they adapt and shift ranges could lead experts to underestimate extinctions, and underscores the importance of landscape connectivity. “The good news is this conflict between moving and adapting is reduced when movement rates are high, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining well-connected landscapes.”

Settlement requires feds to act on critical habitat protections for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee.

(NRDC) The Natural Resources Defense Council and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service settled a lawsuit over the failure to protect habitat necessary for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee, as required under the Endangered Species Act. The settlement will require USFWS to propose “critical habitat” by July 31, 2020, unless it makes a finding that habitat protections are not prudent. The Service must then finalize any habitat protections by July 31, 2021.

Leave the leaves

Image of bumble bee among leaves on ground.

(Xerces Society) As the leaves and temperatures drop, it might be tempting to forget about your pollinator garden until spring. But don’t call it quits just yet! While it may seem like the bees have vanished for the year, they haven’t actually gone anywhere. With that in mind, here are some important steps you can take to continue protecting the pollinators in your yard this winter.

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.

Communities across Connecticut are creating a pollinator pathway for bees and butterflies

Image of girls planting.

(Connecticut Magazine) A grassroots effort, the Pollinator Pathway has spread from town to town with people from land trusts, garden clubs, conservation commissions and watershed associations working with nature centers, municipalities, schools, Scout troops and businesses. Pollinator conservation has not been subject to a lot of political polarization like many other forms of conservation. However, the biggest challenge leaders face is changing the “perfect green lawn” aesthetic. “It looks kind of uninformed and stupid to have a lawn that looks like a golf course. If you have no clover or dandelions, your lawn is a desert.”