For bees and other wildlife, a stretch of sand is a land of plenty

Image of researcher with net standing in front of sand dune.

(Chesapeake Bay Program) Near a swampy forest littered with trash, two biologists went searching for insects. A chance of rain had dampened their morning prospects, but with the temperature climbing, the mild afternoon in March held the chance that their target species would be active: ground-nesting bees and tiger beetles. “Sand habitats are a cornerstone of where we go to look for rare things, but also should be the cornerstone of conservation.”

Thousands of homeowners apply for Minnesota funding to turn lawns into bee-friendly habitats

Image of bumble bee approaching flower.

(Star Tribune) The state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources will select the first 500 or so homeowners this week to receive funding under the trial program, which will pay residents up to $350 to plant pollinator gardens or convert their traditional grass lawns to more bee-friendly yards. Interest has been high enough that the state will keep accepting applications online until early June. “We knew there were going to be a lot of applications for this, but we didn’t know we were going to get close to 6,000 of them in just this first round.”

A new method for surveying bumble bees alongside Minnesota roadways

Image of road worker collecting bees.

(Crossroads) Entomologists working in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Transportation have produced a rigorous method for characterizing bumble bee populations and distribution in roadside environments. Their results indicate that roadside greenways offer potential to support a species-rich community of foraging bumble bees – including the rusty-patched bumble bee.

How quickly do flower strips in cities help the local bees?

Image of roadside flowers.

(ScienceDaily/Pensoft Publishers) Many cities are introducing green areas to protect their fauna. Among such measures are flower strips, which provide support to flower-visiting insects. According to the first quantitative assessment of the speed and distance over which urban flower strips attract wild bees, scientists from the University of Munich found that one-year-old flower strips attracted a third of the 232 species recorded from Munich since 1997.

Federally protected lands reduce habitat loss and protect endangered species

Satellite map of United States.

(Tufts University) Using more than 30 years of earth satellite images, scientists at Tufts University and Defenders of Wildlife have discovered that habitat loss for imperiled vertebrate species in the U.S. during that period was more than twice as great on non-protected private lands than on federally protected lands.

Grad student studies how state-mandated pollinator plots support native bees

Image of researcher in field of flowers.

(NC State) Hannah Levenson has spent the past four years collecting and identifying bees from small plots of wildflowers planted at the 18 research stations operated by NC State and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Because of the network of research stations, she is able to study bees in a broad array of different climates – from the mountains 3,200 feet above sea level to the coast and from the rich Blacklands to the dry Sandhills. “To my knowledge this is the only project that has looked at bees on such a large scale across the whole state.”

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.