What’s the buzz? April 2016
News about Bees, Beekeeping and honey from around the world.
SAN FRANCISCO — Stung hard by disease, sometimes deadly pesticides and colony collapse disorder, the country’s bee population is only half of what it was 70 years ago. The epidemic reached its peak in recent years, and hotel chains around the world took note, creating an unlikely home for nature’s pollinators.
The roofs of at least seven of the city’s luxury hotels are home to millions of bees, reports CBS News’ Danielle Nottingham.
Spencer Marshall is beekeeper at the Fairmont San Francisco, the first hotel in the city to install a bee sanctuary.
A leading brand of home and garden pest-control products says it will stop using a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees.
Ortho, part of the Miracle-Gro family, says the decision to drop the use of the chemicals — called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short — comes after considering the range of possible threats to bees and other pollinators.
Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees, a Purdue University study shows.
Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century.
Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice — staple crops for much of the global human population — but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees.
Three years ago, the European Union strictly limited the use of neonicotinoid herbicides, blocking companies such as Bayer CropScience and Syngenta from selling their chemicals. In that time,honey bee colonies have re-emerged.
France’s National Assembly are now committed to a full ban on neonicotinoids. If the new biodiversity bill passes the French Senate, the neonicotinoid ban will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2018.
Bad news for those with a sweet tooth: the absence of pollinators such as bees and butterflies would signal the end of dessert as we know it.
Whole Foods Market recently removed all products from an area of the supermarket reliant on the creatures, mirroring past initiatives in the diary aisle and the produce section. The results, seen above in the bakery department for the company’s Share the Buzz campaign, are dramatic.
Without pollinators, 95 percent of dessert items the grocery chain stocks would either disappear completely or need to be drastically altered.
Pollinators including hummingbirds, flies, beetles and moths help in the production of nearly 75 percent of crops and an equal proportion of flowering plants.
Ortho, the insect control product maker, said Tuesday it would begin “to transition away” from using chemicals that are harmful to honeybees and other pollinators, responding to growing pressure from environmental advocates.
The Marysville, Ohio-based company, which is a subsidiary of ScottsMiracle-Gro, will discontinue neonicotinoid-based pesticides for outdoor use. The move follows Lowe’s and Home Depot’s announcements last year that they will stop selling neonicotinoid-based products in their garden care sections.
At a time when the need to understand how declining bee populations influence the environment has never been more urgent, University of Stirling scientists have discovered that wild bumblebees are born with the ability to remove pollen from nectarless flowers using high-frequency vibrations.
The study, published in the Journal of Insect Behavior, is the first to show that the ability to vibrate flowers to extract pollen is an innate behaviour in bumblebees and one that is refined over time and gives a rare insight into the complexity of the pollination services provided by these creatures.
In the age of glyphosate and neonicotinoids, it can feel like there’s nothing a single person can do to stem the alarmingworldwide decline of pollinator populations. Yet, even as grassroots activists and policy makers battle over the larger issues killing pollinators worldwide, ordinary people can take simple actions to boost pollinator numbers in their backyards.
One such action is at the heart of a nonprofit called the Great Seed Bomb, which organizes bike rides in which participants seed their surroundings with pollinator-friendly plants. The bike rides also raise money for local conservation groups.
In an effort to better protect the planet’s most important pollinators, pest control company Ortho says it will remove from its products a class of chemicals thought to be linked to declining bee populations.
The company, a division of Scotts Miracle-Gro, said in an announcement Tuesday it would “immediately begin to transition away from the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides for outdoor use.”
Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand, says the decision came after carefully considering the potential threats of the chemicals, called neonics for short, to honey bees.