(Twitter, Zach Portman @zachportman) “The results were a little unexpected — we predicted that higher surrounding agriculture would lead to less diverse bee communities, but that didn’t really seem to matter. Instead, the local forb diversity was the most important driver of bee diversity in these restorations.”
The town of University Park has restored a meadow to provide food and shelter for local wildlife and flowers for bees. Working with the Honey Bee Lab at the University of Maryland, the town planted native grasses and flowers, including butterfly milkweed, purple coneflowers and wild senna as well as black-eyed Susans.
(VTDigger) While many Vermonters went months without a haircut during the Covid-19 quarantine, some of the state’s cemeteries are still waiting for a trim. This year’s disruption has forced some cities to reconsider their maintenance practices, and some people think the wilder look could be worth keeping. “Most people are glad to see the wildflowers coming. So it’s just, how long do we let it go?”
(University of Missouri) Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that the spiny pollen from a native wild dandelion species in the southern Rocky Mountains has evolved to attach to traveling bumble bees. When compared with the average lawn dandelion, which does not need pollen to reproduce, the researchers saw that the pollen on the lawn dandelion has a shorter distance between these spines, making it harder to attach to traveling pollinators.
(NC State University) Flowering strips can help offset pollinator decline but may also bring risks of higher pathogen infection rates for pollinators foraging in those strips. Bumble bees exposed to certain plants showed higher rates of infection by Crithidia bombi, a bee pathogen that is associated with reduced bee-foraging abilities as well as mortality in food-compromised bees.
(BBC) Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset has been designated as one of two “exemplary” sites for the rare shrill carder bee. The shrill carder has disappeared from 97 percent of the U.K.’s wildflower meadows since the 1950s. Lytes Cary Manor’s status as an exemplary site comes after almost a decade of work by volunteers, staff and farm tenants on the National Trust’s 361-acre estate to recreate wildflower-rich areas.
(University of Guelph) Researchers used advanced cloning techniques to give the threatened Hill’s thistle a fighting chance at population recovery. A lack of suitable habitat due to the encroachment of trees and shrubs, as well as cottage development and quarrying activity in its natural habitat, have contributed to the decline. The Hill’s thistle grows in scarce Great Lakes areas known as open alvar grasslands. In Canada, the flowering plant is known to support the life cycles of rare bees and other pollinators.
(The Guardian) Rare wildflowers and declining bee populations could start to recover during the coronavirus lockdown because many councils are leaving roadside verges uncut, according to Europe’s biggest conservation charity for wild plants.