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.

Toronto now has an official bee. Here’s why that matters

Image of metallic green sweat bee on purple flower.

(The Star) The metallic green sweat bee — Agapostemon virescens is the species name — was chosen for three reasons. One, it’s abundant: of the more than 360 wild bee species that inhabit Toronto, this one is fairly common. Two, it’s hard to miss: it looks like it’s all zhuzhed up to hit the bee version of Studio 54, or maybe the Brunswick House before it became a Rexall. And three, it lives in a condo.

Wildflowers near watermelon fields attract wild bees

Collage of images of pollinators.

(Times and Democrat) A Clemson University graduate student has found growing strips of wildflowers near watermelon fields can help attract pollinators, such as native insects and honey bees. During her study, Miriam “Mimi” Jenkins found most of the watermelon plant pollinators were native bees – tiny sweat bees – despite the nearby hives.

Event to address possible impacts of commercial bees on Utah’s forests

Image of lake in front of forest in front of mountain.

(The Times-Independent) Grand County bee inspectors Aug. 22 will give a presentation at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center regarding a plan to temporarily house over 8,000 commercial bee colonies used to pollinate crops in the West on Utah’s national forests, including the Manti-La Sal. Inspectors fear the commercial bee colonies would threaten native bees by competing for food and spreading disease.

Wildflower strips bring farmers extra money while helping native bees

Image of researcher with net in wildflowers.

(Entomology Today) One practice that can bolster native bee populations is planting strips of wildflowers next to crops; however, a study in 2017 found that, without incentives, few farmers choose to plant flower strips. The key to adoption, therefore, is adequate incentives. Researchers examined all the economic costs and benefits of planting wildflower strips and of selling the resulting seeds; their analysis revealed how profit could be made on the sale of seeds.