Grassland studies, radar-tracked bumblebees offer clues for protecting pollinators

Image of bee flying away from flower.

(Horizon) Studying exactly how declining pollinator populations affect biodiversity is a challenge, as is studying any changes to bee behavior and foraging. One way to study an animal’s behavior is to track it. But this is tricky with bumble bees. Unless you use a radar system to pinpoint the position of the bee every few seconds…

Minnesota wraps up 30-year biological ‘census’

Image of researcher in forest.

(Minnesota Public Radio) The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is putting the finishing touches on the state’s first comprehensive survey of this corner of the earth. Hundreds of scientists have spent more than three decades scouring the state, county by county, for rare and common plants and animals, as well as intact ecosystems that represent the land as it once was. “And what we’ve found is a mix of not so good news and good news.”

Pennsylvania group works to rescue rare bees in construction zone

Close up image of digger bee.

(Reading Eagle) “About five years ago, I heard about ground-nesting bees under the I-78 Schuylkill River bridge at Hamburg… These abrupt digger bees, also known as eastern chimney bees, are the only species in the eastern U.S. that make mud chimneys like this… Then I learned there was going to be a major construction and enlargement of the bridge…”

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.”