Lawsuit launched to protect Minnesota’s endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the city of Minnetonka, Minnesota, for failing to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bees from a planned mountain-bike course in Lone Lake Park, home to one of the largest populations of the bee in the state. “The Endangered Species Act is 99% effective at protecting our most imperiled wildlife, but it can only work when its mandates are followed.”

Conservation groups petition Forest Service to stop rubber-stamping commercial beehives on federal lands

Image of honey bee colonies in field.

(Center for Biological Diversity) Conservation groups filed a formal legal petition today urging the U.S. Forest Service to stop allowing the placement of hundreds of commercial honey bee hives on national forest lands without proper environmental review. Honey bees, which are not native to the United States, are important agricultural crop pollinators but have been shown to transmit diseases to native bees. They can also outcompete native bees for pollen and nectar, their only source of food. Yet, over the past decade, the Forest Service has approved permits for at least 900 hives, which could house up to 56 million honey bees on Forest Service lands on the Colorado Plateau alone. A request is pending for an additional 4,900 hives on just one national forest in Utah.

Studying interactions between ground-nesting bees and soils

Image of tiny nest holes in soil.

(Phys.org) Researchers at Oregon State University are studying the interaction between the bees and soil in agricultural settings. The team looked at physical and chemical properties of soils collected from active bee and sand nest wasp sites in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. They compared soil properties among seven farm sites to identify similarities and differences. An interesting finding from the research is that the team found lipids in the soil nest linings. The lipids may provide a type of waterproofing for the nests and their inhabitants.

Bee shortage in Australia threatens crop pollination after back-to-back dry wet seasons

Image of beekeeper holding frame.

(ABC NEWS) Bee numbers in Australia’s Northern Territory are dwindling after back-to-back dry wet seasons, to the point that beekeepers cannot satisfy demand for honey and crucial pollination services. The lower rainfall caused many native Top End trees and plants to produce much less nectar, on which healthy bee populations depend.

New York state issues guidelines to promote creation of pollinator habitats on commercial properties

Image of solar array in field.

(New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets) The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and Environmental Conservation announced new actions to benefit and protect New York’s pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. AGM issued new guidelines to help businesses create pollinator-friendly habitats on commercial properties or utility project sites.