‘Murder hornet’ panic driving a surge in insecticide interest

Image of bumble bee with red flower.

(Washington Post $) Google searches for “hornet spray,” “hornet traps” and “insecticide” have surged. Searches for “how to kill hornets,” for instance, are currently running 20 to 30 times their usual levels for this time of year. Similarly, searches for hornet spray and hornet traps are up three to tenfold. It’s not clear how much increased online interest translates into real-world behavior.

California attorney general calls out insufficient regulation of insecticide

Image of honey bee on flower.

(Santa Barbara Independent) Flonicamid is currently under review by the EPA for residential use, but California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asserts the insecticide may be toxic to bees and other critical pollinators. A new study on adult honey bees found flonicamid to be fatal for bees, Becerra stated in a letter to the EPA. A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

As Massachusetts sprays for EEE, beekeepers worry about fragile bees

Image of hand with honey bees on it.

(WBUR) This summer is turning out to be a particularly bad one for the mosquito-borne virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Massachusetts has been conducting aerial spray operations in areas where mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus using a pesticide called Anvil 10+10. Officials don’t rule out the possibility that this pesticide could harm bees or other insects, but they say there’s no evidence that it has.

Research reveals how bee-friendly limonoids are made

Image of leaf cluster.

(John Innes Centre) The best known limonoid, azadirachtin, is famous for being bee-friendly yet having a strong anti-insect effect. Due to the complex chemical structure of limonoids, it is difficult to chemically synthesize these natural products. As a result, their use is currently limited to what can be extracted from plant materials. “If this engineering could be achieved, then crops could be developed with an inherent resistance to insects, which could reduce reliance on chemical application for crop protection.”